Apr 30, 2020

Food Essentials for families of our KG students

In the Care Packages: lentils, rice, soap and more
In the Care Packages: lentils, rice, soap and more

COVID19 may limit their movement but not their nutrition

It has now been two full months since COVID-19 shut down our schools and put the whole world in lockdown. Our first worry was fulfilling the nutritional needs of our students who depend on the daily breakfast served at our schools. With no economic activity, many families struggled to put even two full meals on the table let alone the kind of wholesome nutritious meals required for the healthy growth of young children. The pandemic exacerbated the need to support the nutrition of these students, many of whom come from families who were already unable to provide them with any kind of breakfast in pre-COVID times.

In early to mid March, we conducted a household survey to gauge the needs of our students, asking their parents about the number of meals they were eating, whether they required food rations to survive the lockdown, and what kind of access to technology they had at home to be able to consume educational content. Based on the findings of the survey, care packages were put together containing food and hygiene essentials as well as learning materials including art and activity worksheets with colour pencils. The Food Essentials included: 10 Kg flour, 3 kg of daal and chana (lentils and beans), 2 kg of rice, 3 litres of cooking oil as well as tea, dairy tea whitener and sugar. Care Packages were sent to the homes of 118 students enrolled in the breakfast program at Khatoon-e-Pakistan Government Girls School (KPS) and 151 students at SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School (SMB).

During and post the process of distribution of care packages, several parents have called their children’s teachers and expressing their gratitude for not only taking care of their immediate needs but also for morally supporting them in these uncertain and difficult times.

Pre-Corona Menu

Before the schools closed down in March, our schools were running their winter menu. 250 students at KPS and 300 students at SMB were served a menu rotating among the following: boiled eggs, potato and spinach with chapati, vegetable soup, khagina (scrambled eggs, onions and potatoes) with chapati, mashed potatoes with cucumber and carrot sticks, boiled moong daal (lentils) with diced tomatoes and capsicum. These were either served with a glass of milk, chikoo milk shake or seasonal fruits like bananas or oranges. The students had started enjoying breakfast so much that they started demanding the same at home and many mothers have come to the school to learn these recipes.

Donate!

We thank you for your support in the past and urge you to make a donation today to support nutritious meals for children in these uncertain times!

Learning Packs: Art worksheets and colour pencils
Learning Packs: Art worksheets and colour pencils
Care packages ready to be distributed to families
Care packages ready to be distributed to families

Links:

Jan 21, 2020

See what our budding artists have been up to!

Students working on a banner for the CLF
Students working on a banner for the CLF

We have had an exciting last few months at our adopted government girls’ schools, Khatoon-e-Pakistan (KPS) and SMB Fatima Jinnah (SMB). Read on to find out.

Art Program gets stamp of approval from world renowned artist

We had the pleasure of hosting globally acclaimed artist Imran Qureshi at one of our adopted government girls’ school - Khatoon-e-Pakistan Government Girls School. He observed the student artwork that was on display in our beautiful art room as well as a class that was under way. We got to share with him the various assignments and activities which constitute our innovative Art Program and also shared our vision behind teaching art at government schools. Qureshi, who is also a faculty member at the National College of Arts, the premier arts education institute of the country, said The way art is being taught here I have not seen at any other school, including expensive private schools, in fact, a few of the pieces on display here could easily pass off as the work of my own university students!” He specially appreciated the objectives behind each assignment and the focus on exposing students to a variety of complex mediums aimed at helping schools move beyond the traditional perception of art being limited to a painting or a drawing.

The best part was that our students got a personal introduction to his work and the philosophy behind it. They also got a chance to help create his installation titled "the Garden Within" - a comment on the current ecological situation in Karachi depicted through a massive mountain of crumpled sheets of paper on which his own art was printed - at the historic Sadequain Gallery at Frere Hall for the Karachi Biennale 2019 (a public showcase of art throughout the city). Through their participation, students learned how art can be used to express their socio-political beliefs and the different ways in which artists can interact with their environment. You can listen to Imran Qureshi’s comments and view our students creating the Garden Within here.

Enriching art field trips

The Karachi Biennale is an innovative art forum, through which the work of almost 100 local and international artists was displayed at public locations throughout the city to bring art into the public sphere. 200 Students from KPS and SMB visited showcases at Frere Hall, Ibn-e-Qasim Park, and the Karachi Zoo, where they experienced installations, interactive performances, films, paintings and sculptures, all centered on the theme of ecology and the economic, social and cultural aspects of it. Students were guided by art researchers and curators who informed the students on how the artwork was created. One of the students’ favorites was an installation titled ‘Stitch a tree’ which features the work of expert women embroiders of the country, reflecting the distinct identity of Pakistani embroidery and the importance of these women’s contribution to cultural, economic and social life.

In addition to our budding artists, our art teachers from SMB took part in an assisted visit to Ibn-e-Qasim Park where they viewed over 50 installations concentrated on showcasing how the city has turned into an ecological disaster, and later took part in a lively discussion on art education and art in public spaces with educationists from 10 other institutions.

Pottery comes to KPS

Students began learning how to create and design pottery as part of the Pottery Club which started recently at KPS. 50 students from grades 6 to 10 learn from our expert pottery teacher during the club period held once a week. Stay tuned for the next report to find out an exciting project the young potters have been working on!

Students beat out private schools to win banner competition

Art students from KPS won the first prize in the banner competition organized by the Children’s Literature Festival, edging out their compatriots from private schools all over the city. The banner featured artwork reflecting their love for reading along with a charming wish: I pray heaven is a library! They later accepted their award from the Commissioner of Karachi at his office.

Research shows that teaching children art at school leads to improvement of students' academic, social, and emotional outcomes. A randomized Control Trial study of 42 elementary and middle schools with over 10,000 third- through eighth-grade students found that an increase in arts educational experiences for school children led to a significant improvement in standardized writing scores, increased in interest in school and college aspirations and a reduction in disciplinary infractions.

Please consider donating today to support arts education in government schools and nurture future creative thinkers.

 


 

Students at the Commissioner Karachi's office
Students at the Commissioner Karachi's office
Imran Qureshi gives students a talk about his art
Imran Qureshi gives students a talk about his art
Students at the Frere Hall installation
Students at the Frere Hall installation
Making the installation with Imran Qureshi
Making the installation with Imran Qureshi
Student artwork in mixed media
Student artwork in mixed media
With Alice Kettle's installation for Biennale 2019
With Alice Kettle's installation for Biennale 2019
Students at the wheel during pottery club
Students at the wheel during pottery club
SMB Art faculty during an assisted tour by artist
SMB Art faculty during an assisted tour by artist
Jan 21, 2020

Meet Sana: A budding mathematician

Concentrating on the lesson
Concentrating on the lesson

13 year old Sana loves waking up in the morning to the sound of birds chirping and singing, it instills a sort of calm in her before diving into a hectic routine. After morning prayers, she assists her mother in daily tasks such as cleaning the house and washing dishes. All day she waits for her favorite part of the day - going to school! Sana’s favorite subject is Mathematics, a subject she has been the top position holder in her batch consistently for the past 1.5 years “I love mathematics because I enjoy solving puzzles; the satisfaction of solving a particularly challenging problem makes me really happy” she says.

She’s one of the most active students I’ve come across, who is eager to learn as much she can in the limited time that she has in class”, her teacher, Irum, says about her.

Sana contributes to her the income of her 8 member family by helping her mother tailor clothes in the evenings, after school. Her mother has a simple set up at home, where she stitches outfits given to her by neighbouring families in the colony. Through this labour, Sana is able to give her mother USD 20 every month which goes toward the rent of the family’s house.

Sana had never attended school before, and had recently relocated to Rawalpindi with her family from Kashmir due to limited economic opportunities in Kashmir. Her father, a driver and the sole earner of the family, was not able to support her education on a meager monthly wage of 120 USD. “Whenever I used to see children from my neighborhood going to school, I used to gaze longingly at them” says Sana. However, her parents soon learnt about Zindagi Trust’s Paid-to-Learn program during a recruitment drive held by our field officers, and admitted her. This school where Sara is studying specializes in non-formal education, covering basic primary education in an accelerated two-year course for no charge. Now, she is in the equivalent of fifth grade and upon graduation will be able to enroll in a secondary school to continue her education.

Thank you for helping us support bright students like Sana! We urge you to continue donating so that together we can support more students like her, who are eager to learn but whose financial constraints prevents them from realizing their untapped potential.

Doing what she loves, solving a maths problem
Doing what she loves, solving a maths problem

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