Zindagi Trust

Our mission is two-part: 1) To provide non-formal primary education through a creative, well-designed curriculum to Pakistan's underprivileged working children, thus empowering them to become responsible citizens as well as readying them for vocational or secondary education. 2) To assist the Government of Pakistan in reforming state schools and curricula so as to bring them at par with the challenges of present time, so that the majority of the country's youth that studies in them can get an equal opportunity at a bright future.
Mar 27, 2013

School Nurse on the Health Impact of the programme

Haji Bibi, school nurse
Haji Bibi, school nurse

Our school nurse, Haji Bibi, was asked to to give her observation about the change in student after the breakfast programme was started.  She reported that the programme has had a very positive impact on the health of our students –the number of students reporting to the nurse with complaints of vomiting, dizziness, weakness and headache has dropped due to the nutrition support provided by the breakfast programme.

Here is more in Haji Bibi's own words:


“My name is Haji Bibi and I have been working as the school health room nurse for two years, taking care of all the ill students sent our way.

 

Our school provides many important facilities to the students, one of which is the breakfast given to kindergarten students. The children are given a varying menu of milk, bread, butter, eggs, butter and fruits every day. This aids the physical development of the a child and makes her healthy and strong.

 

Most of the children attending our school come from families which are not able to provide milk to them at home. This makes the children weak and saps them of their natural energy. Milk is essential for growing children and our breakfast programme ensures that our students drink milk, along with other edibles, every day. This gives them the fuel that they need to take on the challenges of a day at school so that they take interest in every lesson and participate actively in every class activity.

 

The biggest improvement that the Breakfast Programme has brought about is that our students have been saved from many diseases and illnesses such as physical weakness, getting dizzy, vomiting, etc. which would disturb their studies. Illnesses set a child back in every way, so I am hopeful that this programme will continue for our school’s students and every student from our school will be seen as a healthy young child, eager to learn in class and in the playground.”

Links:

Mar 13, 2013

"Without education we are blind to opportunity"

Azeem at his father
Azeem at his father's scrap shop

“Without education we are blind to opportunity”

 

“Without education we are blind to opportunity – it is education that gives us the ability to see beyond the visible path.” These are the words of Muhammad Azeem, a 15-year-old who graduated from Paid to Learn, our non-formal primary education programme for working children. His face glowed as he put the value of education into words so eloquent they belied his age.

 

Azeem grew up and still lives in the notorious Karachi slum of Sohrab Goth. His father is a ragman and scrap dealer and employs the services of his entire family, including Azeem and his younger siblings, works at his shop. They live together in the traditional “joint family system” – Azeem, his parents, his siblings (six brothers and five sisters) as well as his grandparents.

 

After completing graduating from our non-formal primary school in Dalmia, Karachi at the top of his class, he qualified for our secondary school scholarship. He was placed in Jinnah Public School in Dalmia so he could continue his secondary education, sponsored entirely by our Secondary School Scholarship for top graduates of the Paid to Learn programme.

 

He is currently in the seventh grade and will sit for his Annual Examinations at the end of this month. He has shown consistency in his academic performance in the past few years, continuing his good progress from our non-formal schools to the mainstream private school where he is now a student.

 

Azeem treasures the time he spent at Zindagi Trust’s non-formal school for working children. Going to school had always been an unfulfilled dream for him before that point, so he is grateful to God for blessing him with the opportunity to get support for his education.

 

It is still a hard life for him. He gets into motion at daybreak, attending school in the morning and on his way to work with an empty sack by the time the clock hits two in the afternoon. He forages the streets for valuable scrap for the next few hours and near the end of his work day, the sack is bulging with cups, bottles, cardboard packages and bits of metal. He drags this heavy sack through his father’s shop where it will be weighed and scrap dealt.

 

But he doesn’t see himself doing this the rest of his life and has already begun to sketch a path out of being forced to pick through garbage. Inspired by Shehzad Roy, the singer and philanthropist who founded the organization which enabled his escape to education, Azeem has made education a priority. He is committed to learning and has set for himself the practical goal of obtaining an F.A. (a local junior college equivalent) so that he can get a white-collar job.

 

“I want to get a good, respectable job… in an office. Then I will be treated respectfully and I will also treat people with respect,” he said.

 

As a 15-year-old who has the vision and self-belief to break out of the poverty-illiteracy cycle his family is stuck in, Azeem’s work also supports the education of his younger siblings. We have truckloads of respect for this child and wish him the best for the future. 

Azeem sorting plastic bottles at the scrap shop
Azeem sorting plastic bottles at the scrap shop
Azeem going to school
Azeem going to school
Azeem reads in his 7th-grade classroom
Azeem reads in his 7th-grade classroom
Azeem discusses a question with a classmate
Azeem discusses a question with a classmate
Reading his essay on the greatness of hard work
Reading his essay on the greatness of hard work
A relaxed moment with friends after school
A relaxed moment with friends after school

Links:

Feb 11, 2013

Term Highlights

Top students receive awards on Results Day
Top students receive awards on Results Day

Here’s a quick snapshot of what’s been going on at our schools for children forced into labour:

GRADUATION   A total of 234 students graduated from our primary schools for working children in Rawalpindi, Lahore and Karachi. Our academic team is striving hard to get the successful graduates admitted into mainstream secondary schools. It is expected that around 200 of these graduates will be placed in a private or public secondary school by the April term.

 PARTNERSHIPS   We are proud to announce a partnership with SPARC, a non-profit working in the Pirwadahi area of Rawalpindi, where one of our schools (School #8) for working children is located. The good folks at SPARC will help us with an education awareness campaign for the parents of street children forced into labour, in which the parents will be educated about the benefits of sending their children to school. We are hopeful that the new SPARC-Zindagi Trust team will result in a greater number of children being enrolled in our schools for working children in Rawalpindi.

CULTURAL DAYS   The schools across the country organized celebrations for Iqbal Day and for Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s birthday, with student performances of poetry, music and speeches to pay homage to Poet of the East as well as to the Father of the Nation.

ART COMPETITION   Five of our students from the schools in Rawalpindi participated in an Art Competition featuring students from NGO-run schools from all over the city and did quite well to be recognized. Two of them won top prizes – Javeria and Hisbullah winning the 1st and the 4th prize respectively.  

END OF TERM   The term ended with a Results and Awards Ceremony in all our schools across Pakistan where academic reports of the students were announced and the top students, teachers and schools recognized. Overall, 97.5% of the students at each level passed their assessments, a result that qualified for the top internal rating of “Very Good,” which was an improvement over the previous term’s assessment of “Good.” 

Students deliver speeches and poetry performances
Students deliver speeches and poetry performances
Star students are awarded stars on Results Day!
Star students are awarded stars on Results Day!

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