12-year-old Tariq wakes up diligently every morning at the crack of dawn and pulls out his textbooks to revise the lessons he was taught in school the previous day. After revising for an hour, he makes his entire family breakfast, and then heads out to his school, the Al Huda Education System, located next to Pakistan’s capital city. Upon returning back home, he changes out of his uniform and heads out yet again for tuition classes. Once done, he departs for a junk shop where he helps his elder brother with his job of collecting and selling scrap paper. Once his brother has counted his earnings for the day, which amount to less than $1, they make their way back to their one-room home.
Tariq’s brother is the only bread earner for the 11-member family, while his parents do not work, due to ill health and old age. His family’s dire financial situation has only served to motivate him more to study well, graduate, and work his way towards becoming a doctor with his own practice, so he may be able to help his parents and his siblings. His dedication is definitely reflective in his grades, as he consistently ranks amongst the top students in his Science, and Language classes. While Science remains is his favourite subject, he has developed an affinity for languages. “One of the best things about attending school has been that I can now read and write, which has helped me make more sense of what is going on around me” says the sixth grader, while talking about why he enjoys his Urdu and English language classes.
Prior to attending formal secondary school, Tariq used to work the whole day as a scavenger, similar to his elder brother. He came across the Paid to Learn Program by Zindagi Trust through which he was enrolled in the accelerated primary school program for 3 years. Upon the completion of this program Tariq then gained admission into the school he is a student at today, as a part of the Zindagi Trust’s Secondary Sponsorship Program where students are not only given support for admission into grade 6 at a formal school but also given a full scholarship till Grade 10.
Please continue to support Tariq in realizing his dream to become a medical practitioner and better his family’s future.
Zindagi Trust’s Breakfast Program, which aims to provide students with a nutritious locally sourced meal to start the day, is continuing with fervor at our two adopted government schools. The program seeks to integrate and build awareness of health, nutrition and environment among our young students.
At Khatoon e Pakistan Government Girls School (KPS), breakfast is served to students of kindergarten, first grade and second grade totaling 217 students. However, due to its larger student body, SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School (SMB) is currently only able to serve breakfast to their 278 kindergarten students.
In keeping with the resolve to remove all processed items from the menu, this quarter KPS choose to replace store-bought bread with roti madein-house. On the other hand, with the onset of the Flu season, SMB introduced chicken soup to the menu. The regular menu at both schools comprises boiled eggs, omelet with chapatti, bread, jam, butter, pancakes, stewed or fried ladyfinger with chapatti and yogurt, boiled potatoes, chickpeas, biscuits, sandwiches, fruit salad, french toast, kidney beans, potato cutlets, mixed vegetables, wheat porridge and of course a glass of milk.
In our previous reports we have kept you updated about the school vegetable garden where the student’s Environmental Club is enthusiastically learning how to grow certain vegetables, protect them from pests and understand and appreciate food production. Two of the vegetables they have been growing were served for breakfast this quarter: spinach and bottle gourd. New vegetable seeds were planted for onions, peas, lady fingers and carrots. These will be ready to serve students in the next quarter. Furthermore, the environmental club is also taking care of composting kitchen waste.
The Breakfast program is has been tremendously successful. It has brought about a heartening improvement in the development and health of our young students. Teachers and staff report a decrease in absenteeism, fainting due to malnutrition, yawning during the class, and diminished concentration in studies and sports. Moreover, it has significantly boosted student admissions in the Early Childhood Development grades (ECD) at SMB. During Parent Teacher Meetings, parents are regularly advised to provide healthy homemade food to kids and not junk food. With the increasing awareness about health and hygiene especially through the breakfast program, the parents of our students show increased interest in what their children are eating and work to prepare similar items at home for them as well.
Please consider making a donation to our breakfast program to continue supporting nutritious meals for children in Pakistan’s public schools!
Alina’s fingers, holding the long steel needle, flash in and out of the fabric at the speed of light; the gold thread creating a vibrant blur of color. Her station consists of a tall wooden frame, with fabric spread taught over it, much like a blank canvass. An array of shining jewels, glinting mirrors, pearls, and threads lie beside the 13-year old, as she continues her work as a craftsperson, putting embellishments on dresses. Her mother will later sell this hand-worked fabric door-to-door in wealthy residential areas, allowing Alina to earn USD 30 per month, money sorely needed to support her 7 member household. Each dress takes at least 5 hours to complete, leaving Alina just enough time in the day to attend school.
Alina is a student at a Zindagi Trust school in Lahore, Pakistan, This school specializes in non-formal education for working children, covering basic primary education in an accelerated two year course. Alina had stopped attending school after her family moved from a nearby village to Lahore two years ago, due to her family’s inability to afford the fee. Her mother started working as a domestic helper in several houses, where she heard of Zindagi Trust schools, and enrolled Alina. Now, in the equivalent of fourth grade, she spends three hours at school between her time working at home.
While she is a consistent top achiever in the subjects of Urdu Language and Science, Alina enjoys her art classes the most. ‘I enjoy the process of creating something beautiful out of nothing. I want to study Art after I finish school, and become an Arts teacher when I grow up’ says the aspiring artist. Her dedication to teaching is evident by the fact that she tutors her younger brothers in the evenings, two of which work in a car mechanic’s shop as helpers.
Your regular donations aid Alina and students like her acquire an education to realize their professional ambitions. We hope you will continue to support bring young students like Alina!