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.
Jun 29, 2015

A star student smiling from adversity to success

At school
At school

Meet Sawan. A 15-year-old boy who lives in Lahore with his five siblings. A slum dweller. A child labourer. A top position holder in school. An eternal optimist.

 

When Sawan was 11, he found work as sales help at a crockery shop. The 2000 rupees a month he made were neatly deposited with his father, a garment factory worker who needed all the financial support he could get to support his family of seven.

 

Thankfully, Sawan’s father knew the importance an education could make in eventually transforming their lives and enrolled his children in Zindagi Trust’s free primary schools for working children.

 

When he first started, he struggled with following the lessons as an older child in primary school. However, he was committed to working hard on his studies and was optimistic about things turning out well in the end. His teachers saw his devotion and never-say-die attitude and offered him remedial classes at home.

 

He made great progress and ended up with at least a B grade in all his classes, eventually finishing primary school in the top 10% of his class. Subsequently, he was sponsored by Zindagi Trust to continue his education in a private secondary school where he now studies in the 9th grade. A diligent and passionate student, ranked by his teachers as one of the best in his class, he bagged the 3rd position in the school’s last annual exams in March.

 

From difficult courses at school to rough days at home after his father loses out his daily wages due to political strikes, Sawan is always looking for the silver lining and providing a cheery outlook to his friends and family. Displaying an unbreakable spirit, he advises his friends that optimism can give them to courage to overcome any challenge.

 

In his community, there are hundreds of children in the same situation as Sawan. What makes him stand out is his positive attitude and thinking. Today, in addition to working at the crockery store, he is delighted to have started doing door-to-door sales and deliveries on Sundays to make some extra bucks. At school, he is excited to have made it to the stage where students prepare to take their first board exams which determine their college admissions.

 

“I never take anything for granted. Challenges have helped me improve my life.”

 

He looks forward to performing well in his Matriculation exams within the next two years after which he plans to continue his studies privately while getting a better part-time job, maybe in an office. His aim in life is to join the army to serve his country.

 

To support the secondary education of graduates of our primary school program for working children like Sawan, please check out the links below.

Studying at home
Studying at home
A work
A work

Links:

Jun 29, 2015

Breakfast for Pakistani school-children

starting the day with noodle soup
starting the day with noodle soup

Since you last heard from us, the new school year began for us in April and our kindergarten class grew from 235 smiles to 250 even brighter smiles walking in to our Breakfast Room to start the schoold day every morning.

As the winter came to a close in March, the menu was altered for the warmer months to move from eggs and chicken to a lighter package of seasonal fruits and bread and butter or jam. As usual, the crowd favourite rose-flavoured milk stayed on.

We were pleased that the parents of the newly admitted students as well as recent visitors to the school (volunteers, government monitors, etc.) expressed their appreciation and support for the breakfast programme. We hope this support will grow into the practice of the state providing school meals at all schools across the province.

Thank you for your continued support in promoting good health and nutrition in Pakistan's school children!

Links:

Jun 8, 2015

The key to educating 1800 child workers in Pakistan

Spring Plantation Drive
Spring Plantation Drive

Zindagi Trust aims to improve the quality of life and the quality of education accessible to poor Pakisanis by giving under-privileged working children the opportunity to attend school and finish basic primary education. To date, over 4000 childlren forced into labour have completed primary school through Zindagi Trust's Paid to Learn initiative, with almost 500 of them continuing their education in a government or private secondary school. 1800 such children are currently enrolled in our schools across urban Pakistan.

The keys to the success of the programme are two-fold:

1) The schools adapt to the needs of street-smart, working children by teaching them an accelerated course which condenses five years of primary school into two years and two months. Our Academic Team trains teachers through regular as well as refresher courses to equip them to follow this challenging course.

2) The schools impart non-textbook knowledge which makes the school experience immediately practical for a population not entirely sold on the value of education. The curriculum includes topics such as life skills, awareness about hygiene, healthcare, safety, etc. all of which are integrated into everyday classes and special events like neighbourhood surveys and campaigns or occasions like Earth Day, instead of being taught as a separate subject. 

Engaged through such hands-on activities and projects, children gain awareness about problems in a way that makes them own the issues much more effectively than learning about their importance in a textbook could. Their active participation in curricular and co-curricular activities also helps develop their confidence, which goes a long way in ensuring that they fight for a better future. 

We would like to share some glimpses of the extra-curricular and co-curricular activities that take place regularly in our schools:

Spring Plantation Drive: Students celebrate the coming of spring through a Plantation Week. This involves sowing seeds, looking after baby plants, and learning about the ecosystem through a combination of lectures and hands-on activities. These activities are held in our schools across Pakistan every spring to create environmental awareness among children who spend most of their days on the street or at work. The children are motivated through a competition which awards a special prize to students who look after their plants best until they flower.

Cleanliness Week aims to instill in the children a responsibility about their environment through both lessons and play. The students enjoy interactive sessions on the environment with their teachers. A quiz competition and a poster competition on cleanliness are organized to promote awareness. Students also perform tableaus to demonstrate the importance of environmental awareness. 

Clean Drinking Water Campaign: The children run their own awareness campaign every year about the health hazards of drinking unclean water. After an initial briefing by their science teachers, children reach out to those in their  respective communities to fight against water-borne diseases. They also give demos to the communities on how water can be purified cheaply at home.

Celebrating Heroes: Children learn about and celebrate Pakistan's national heroes - poets, scientists, explorers, athletes, etc. through special days dedicated to them in which the personalities are remembered through speeches, tableaus, fun pop quiz competitions and gallery presentations on their work. 
 

Other initiatives made possible by the support of our donors include: 

  • Hepatitis Vaccination Campaign: A 3-dose hepatitis vaccine has been submitted to the children of our schools in Rawalpindi.
  • Yearly Eye Examination / Treatment: Yearly eye check up and treatment camps are held under the Pediatric Urban Eye Care Programme for the students, teachers, maids ane peons of our schools in Lahore and Rawalpindi through the support of Layton Rahmatullah Benevolent Trust (LRBT) and Al- Shifa Eye Hospital.
  • Be-My-Buddy: Individuals, specially college students studying abroad, support our Be My Buddy Programme which helps them establish a connection with the child whose education they sponsor through letters, progress reports, etc. 

 A big thank you to all our supporters for making our work with these amazing children possible! We look forward to your continued support which lets us bring these programmes to the working children in Pakistan's urban slums.

Remembering the great poet Iqbal
Remembering the great poet Iqbal
Eye camp
Eye camp
Vaccination Drive
Vaccination Drive
Graduation Ceremony
Graduation Ceremony

Links:

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