Qaisra is a 5th-grader who works at a beauty salon to support her family. She is enroled in one of Zindagi Trust's schools for working children in Lahore. Her father is a laborer and earns a meagre 7000 PKR a month, which does not completely support his family of seven children.
Barely twelve years old, she wakes up early in the morning to do household chores, goes to the salon, then to school in the afternoon and then again to the salon. She learnt how to cut children's hair and has four to five assignments waiting for her at the salon every evening. She is confident in her skills and has shown maturity beyond her years by taking up the responsibility of supporting her family income.
As a student, she is regular, punctual, hardworking and has a solid understanding of math and science, always doing well in tests and exams. She is a quiet child but displays a great self-confidence in her participation in class activities. She has seen the harsh reality of growing up in poverty but she strongly believes that education will enable her to find her way out of poverty. She also wants to take on a leadership role to help girls like herself to empower themselves through education and live the lives of their choice.
Zindagi Trust sponsors not only the non-formal primary education programme that Qaisra is enrolled in, but also funds the continuing education of our best performing primary school graduates. It is a matter of great pride for us that half of our beneficiaries are girls who will one day be able to pull themselves out of poverty through education. We express our deep gratitude to our donors for their continued support in making these programs possible.
Madiha studies in the third grade at Zindagi Trust's non-formal school for working children. Her family migrated to the city of Rawalpindi from a small village in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. She was orphaned when she was only five when her father's death left her mother alone to raise her and her five siblings. Her mother found work as a maid and took her along as a helping hand. She doesn't remember her family ever doing well enough to afford more than one meal a day. Despite the tragic loss of innocence, Madiha has a positive and mature take on learning and loss:
"For me learning is anything that teaches you a lesson - we learn both from the textbooks and from our daily life experiences, whether they are good or bad. Learning is something that is totally yours - you can share with others but nobody can steal it from you."
She starts a typical day by going to work with her mother in the morning where they clean houses till the afternoon, when it's time to go to school. Right after getting back from school, she does her homework. She then helps her mother with household chores after which she spends an extra hour and a half at night preparing for the next day's classes. Her teachers are very pleased with her performance and active participation at school.
Madiha was not always in school. At the house she helped her mother clean every morning, she saw children going to school and longed for their colourful uniforms, books and bags. She dreamed of reading books and writing neatly with colourful pens. She waited to empty the trash in the children's room just so she could collect the torn printed paper - looking at scraps of paper, trying to piece together the words and pictures drawn on them was her favourite part of the day.
She wanted to learn how to read and write and asked her mother repeatedly to let her go to school. Despite her mother's initial refusal, Madiha had faith that her mother's love would one day send her to school. This happened when her mother found out about Zindagi Trust's free afternoon schools for working children.
Madiha remembers her first day of school fondly - bright, friendly faces and teachers urging her mother to put all her children in school, to give them the chance of a better future. Today, two of her siblings are also studying in the same school and Madiha aims to complete her studies to become a teacher. She and her mother are thankful to the support of donors like you who made the change in her life possible.
Abid is a twelve-year-old studying in the fourth grade. He is the son of a labourer who works on daily wages and struggles to earn a meager income to support Abid and his five sisters, who live in Kot Lakhpat, an urban slum in Lahore.
Abid has grown up around extreme poverty, one of the cruelest realities of big-city life. His circumstances forced him to seek a job as staff help in a general store near home, where he works in the morning. In the afternoon, Abid and three of his sisters go to the Peco Road School, established and run by Zindagi Trust under the Paid to Learn program for mainstreaming working children into primary education.
Abid is a keen student who never misses a day of school. His teachers find him to be one of the brighter children at school – he scored above 95% on his last term exams. Showing maturity and self-introspection beyond his years, he tells us that he always questions himself before taking decisions and that this practice has helped him understand himself.
He lives by the motto that if you believe in yourself, the world can be yours. He has written his favorite Urdu saying at the entrance of the school:
‘Do what you want to do and do not limit yourself because what you believe, you can achieve’
He wants to grow up to be a pilot.
On behalf of Zindagi Trust, a big Thank You to all our supporters around the world for making it possible for Abid and other children like him to go to school, to dream, and to believe.
Huma studies in the fifth grade in one of Zindagi Trust's Pindi schools for working children from urban slums. Everyone in her family, including her four sisters and three brothers - works every day to make ends meet. Huma herself works from 7am to 12:30pm and attends school in the afternoon.
Huma is a determined and responsible young girl. Being the eldest, she tries her best to take care of the rest of her family by being content with what she has and saving the money she earns. Every day after work and school, she spends with her siblings, helping them with their studies. Huma's brothers and sisters are in Zindagi Trust schools all thanks to her efforts.
Despite all the responsibilities on her young shoulders, Huma refuses to give up on her dreams in the face of adversity. She remains a position holder at school, topping her exams every year. Her teacher is a role model for her, inspiring her to continue struggling to get an education, on her way to making it big. She aims to study for a Bachelor of Arts degree and to become a teacher in the school she is currently enrolled in.
Huma’s parents have a played a great role in her drive to succeed. They are proud of their determined, generous and respectful daughter. Huma’s mother, specially, has always supported her education. She herself struggles every day to make ends meet and is hopeful about her children’s future. "Someday all of us would be in a better position," she says.
Huma thanks Zindagi Trust and its supporters like you on behalf of her family for enabling her and her siblings to go to school.
Javeria is studying in the 5th grade in Zindagi Trust's Paid to Learn School for working children in Manzoor Colony. During her primary schooling here, she has consciously worked hard and showed remarkable academic progress. At a very young age, Javera has realized the value of hard work in enabling one to succeed and charms her teachers with statements such as "there is no substitute for hard work!"
Javeria belongs to a Punjabi family. Her father is a rickshaw driver. The eldest in her family, she coaches her siblings and her neighbors in the evenings. Apart from teaching, she wants to teach personal skills to groom the children of her community - most of whom are street children. Learning from her teachers, she interacts with her own "students" by using polite words like ‘Please’ ‘Thank You’ to teach them how to be polite and soft-spoken.
Javeria has a clear passion for education and takes her studies seriously. She has maintained an excellent record at school, a summary of which is as follows:
Javeria also loves to read and her favourite kind of book is one which helps her travel the world through words and stories. Her future plans involve teaching at the same Zindagi Trust school where she is studying now. She also wants to examine the basis of children learning, an impressive research goal for a fifth-grader.
She spends some time at home every day doing embroidery till the wee hours, to help with the household income. She never takes things granted. A committed and dedicated student, she takes pride of being the first child in her family to go to school and later opened the door for rest of the children of her family to receive an education. It is also a great achievement of Zindagi Trust’s academic team who motivated her family to send their daughters and sons to Zindagi Trust school. We wish her all the best and hope that Javeria and other bright young children like her continue to get such opportunities through your support.
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