First up, a big thank you to all our supporters for making our work with these amazing children possible! The team at Zindagi Trust has been busy with the new term at the Paid to Learn schools across the country since our last update in August. We hope you enjoy the latest highlights from our schools:
Design for Change – Pakistan
Students from across our network of schools for working children brainstormed and submitted their creative ideas to the world’s largest Design for Change School Challenge, where children aged 8 to 13 identify and propose solutions to the problems their local communities face. Encouraged by their success in the event last year, when teams from our schools won the Jinnah Prize, the Quickest Impact Prize and the Most Environmentally Friendly prize, our teachers and students got to work and once again prepared some great projects for the competition this year.
Some of the ideas our students developed projects for this year include an effort to promote awareness about safe drinking water, a school enrollment drive, a project that converts electric poles on the street into beautiful tools of religious awareness, as well as a handwashing drive. The students have enjoyed brainstorming for ideas and working on putting them into practice. The school enrollment project in which our students reached out to working children on the street like themselves and educated and encouraged them (and their parents) to join school has already borne fruit with some on-the-spot enrollments!
The results of the competition will be announced at the end of the month and we are hopeful once again of a good show.
Late in August, we had a two-day Ramadan Carnival for 300 of our students in Karachi, thanks to the support of Coke. The students from the urban slums of Manzoor Colony, Mehmudabad, Haji Usman and Zia Colony – where we run four non-formal schools for underprivileged, working children – took part in the event. They were brought in buses from their homes or auto-shops to the spacious SMB Fatima Government Girls School, which Zindagi Trust manages as part of its public school reform project. The school was decorated with festive lights and theme trucks ready with games and gifts.
The Coke team and our teachers arranged games and competitions for the students. The event kicked off with a freestyle art competition, the top 30 contestants of which were awarded and their work displayed for all the students to see. Later, some of the students played cricket, another set played tug of war and some enjoyed the jungle gym in the corner of the Fatima Jinnah grounds. All the while, volunteers were decorating the faces of the eager students with hearts or butterflies in face paint, or taught them a sport they hadn’t played before, like basketball.
These carefree, fun activities held in a bright, festive and spacious environment were a rare experience for these children, who come from impoverished backgrounds and spend most of their days working hard on the street. The children were delighted at the opportunity to express themselves freely by something as simple as running around in a big playground!
At sunset, all the students, teachers and coordinators enjoyed a lovely Iftar meal. Later, all the children were given gift hampers, the highlight of which were cricket bats which the students couldn’t playing and posing with. The most unforgettable moment of the night came right at the end, when a continuous fountain of shiny coloured confetti was showered over the children who cheered with glee as they danced through the red-and-white rain like the rockstars that we know they are.
Beautify Your School
Earth Day was celebrated at all our schools with a “Beautify Your School” activity which promoted a commitment to keeping our environment clean and green. The students cleaned their schools and the area around them, collecting litter in bags and depositing it in marked litter bins.
For children living, working and indeed studying in urban slums where treating public space as a garbage can is considered the norm, this yearly event goes a long way in spreading awareness about the importance of a clean and healthy environment, not only among the students themselves but also their families and the people they work with at car-repair shops and general stores, etc.
The teachers also joined the students in this effort to demonstrate that cleaning up is everyone’s job and must be done with commitment and pride. The children were reminded that littering their school and their street was one step towards destroying the earth. Later, the children were asked to write a sentence each about the dangers of not caring for the environment and the importance of cleanliness to integrate the message into their everyday learning.
Get in Touch!
Please let us know what you thought of our programmes. We would love to hear your feedback about more events and activities that we can organize at our school, so if you have an idea about something our children would enjoy, please write to us - leave a comment here, shoot us an email, or catch us on Facebook or twitter! Thank you for reading and have a lovely day.
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