Most of us are born in privileged households where our parents provide us with a comfortable living and send us to schools because that is the basic right of every child. We take it for-granted because we see that all the kids around us are doing the same thing. We even sometimes resent the hard life where we have to carry our bag full of books and copies and stay away from all the good things in life like cartoons and video games.
Sardar’s story is a little different. He was not born in a privileged household and school education wasn’t something that everyone around him was getting. Three years back, Sardar’s parents migrated from Afghanistan and settled in the city of Rawalpindi in Pakistan. They came to Pakistan in the hope of a better future but things played out a little differently when Sardar’s dad fell ill. His illness grew pretty severe causing him to become incapable of work. The responsibility to earn a living fell on the shoulders of all the six sons while the three daughters took care of the home. Two of the brothers set up a tea stall at the bus stop trying to get the passengers to buy their tea. The other four had to set up a similar stall in the nearby fruit and vegetable market, but Sardar resisted. He always had a dream to go to school and was ready to stand up against his family to fight for his right to education. At the age of 11 Sardar took a stand for himself and stood up to convince his brothers. The family finally agreed and exempted Sardar from the tea stall for a few hours in the morning.
Sardar started his education in the nearby Government School for Boys but there were more challenges awaiting him. The government passed an order to convert Sardar’s school into a girls only campus, and shift all the boys enrolled to another campus which was much further away. The long distance causing elongated commute time made it impossible for Sardar to continue his education. He discontinued his studies and joined his brothers in the fruit and vegetable market. The brothers didn’t want him at the stall anymore and so Sardar had to become a garbage collector in the same market. He would work all day in the market and think about all his class fellows and teachers. He really missed his school and dreamed of going back there one day.
Our Zindagi Trust Program Officer found out about Sardar during our enrollment drive. Sardar got enrolled in Zindagi Trust Fauiji Colony School in Rawalpindi and has now completed one year with the school. He is currently in Grade 3 and is a self-motivated learner. After school hours he still goes back to the fruit market as a garbage collector because he takes pride in the contribution he makes to his family’s income.
Talking to our field officer Sardar says:
“Previously I hated my job. I felt like I am living in garbage and wasting my life in garbage. But now that I go to school, I don’t hate it anymore. It’s like Math practice now. I count the things I pick, I add them, I multiply them. It doesn’t feel bad anymore
Hundreds of children like Sardar give up their dreams of getting a classroom education because of unfortunate circumstances. Please donate to Zindagi Trust to help us give these children a better and a brighter future through education.
Arooj is a teenager from Lahore with big dreams. A high achiever and a go-getter, she finished our accelerated primary school program near the top of her class. Her neighbours, relataives and friends’ parents relate stories of how they would motivate their children to follow Arooj’s example and study hard. Buoyed by her performance and specially the praise from her teachers, Arooj’s parents were excited to see their daughter continue to shine in school so they could see her realise her dream of becoming a doctor.
Unfortunately, progressing to secondary school was not that straightforward. Arooj’s father was a daily laborer and did not have a stable income. On a good month, where he was lucky to find enough work, he would earn up to PKR 11,000, which was hardly enough to feed his family of six. Sending Arooj to secondary school would impose a very heavy burden on the family’s finances.
Arooj got selected for our Secondary Students Scholarship program, which covers the cost of education up to matriculation for the most promising students. Arooj’s parents were elated. She is now a 9th Grade student at the Allama Iqbal Public High School in Lahore where she continues to be a high performing student.
In addition, she has proven to be an incredible support to her family – she contributes to the household income by making artificial jewelry for sale. We were stunned to see the beautiful masterpieces she was creating at home. Arooj told our team that jewelry making doesn’t seem like work to her at all. In fact she finds it a good stress reliever when she gets tired from doing her homework.
The budding artist is already supporting her family financially at the age of seventeen but she has big plans for her future. She aspires to become a doctor and Zindagi Trust’s Secondary School Scholarship for Top Graduates is helping her achieve her dream. In an interview with our team, Arooj told us that the plight of the people around her who cannot afford healthcare motivates her to take action to bring betterment to her community.
“I want to become a doctor when I grow up because I want to help poor families like ours who suffer because they can’t afford good treatment. I will not charge them a penny because access to healthcare is everyone’s right”.
Donate today to support superheroes like Arooj who are passionate to acquire education and ready to take their community’s future in their own hands.
We have expanded our Breakfast Program to 200 more children at Khatoon-e-Pakistan Government Girls School (KPS), the second school we adopted under our School Reform project. In addition to the 250+ students of Kindergarten at SMB Fatima Jinnah Government School (SMB), we are now providing a daily breakfast to more than 200 students of Kindergarten, First and Second Grade at KPS.
From our experience at our first adopted school as well as from established practice around the world, we know that children who eat a nutritious breakfast have more energy, do better in school, and make healthier choices throughout the day. We are already reaping the benefits of breakfast at KPS - with both teachers and parents reporting a change in the students. The youngest students at school who used to be specially irritable, restless, tired and unable to focus on their lesson are now perceived to be taking keen interest in classroom activities.
“I find my students more active than before as a result of which they are able to give excellent class performance. The breakfast has really boosted their energy levels in a positive way,” remarked a Kindergarten teacher at KPS.
As with our first school SMB, the weekly breakfast menu at KPS has also been carefully developed with consideration given to nutritional value, availability of quality ingredients and an aim to develop a taste for a wide variety of foods in our students. Special attention is paid to the maintenance of hygiene standards in the kitchen. Some of the items featured on the KPS menu include different varieties of eggs (scrambled, boiled, half boiled egg), fruit and bean salad, oats, porridge, milkshakes, dates, chickpea salad and homemade chapati along with different vegetables.We are also happy to report that the student have now started to love sago in milk or milkshakes.
At SMB, the previous quarter's additions to the menu such as whole wheat chapatis and porridge are going strong. A new addition this month has been an elaborate fruit chaat or salad featuring cucumber, carrot, red beans, chickpeas, along with seasonal fruits and dates. Vegetables with chapati, yogurt and sago pudding or kheer was also introduced. Children are given information about every new item added to the menu so that they learn to recognize and appreciate it for the nutritional value, taste, origin, as well as the benefits of eating it.
Milk is served daily as usual at both the schools.
Please consider making a donation to this program to continue supporting breakfast to fuel the brains of tomorrow's world!