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.
Sep 29, 2015

Breakfast for over 200 under-privileged school children in Karachi, Pakistan

Back to School - Milk & Sandwiches
Back to School - Milk & Sandwiches

A very warm hello from the students of Kindergarten at SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School in Karachi. This August, our students returned from their summer vacations and we were once again greeted with smiles at the top of the day in the Breakfast Room. A total of 226 students from the two sections of Kindergarten start their school day with a breakfast meal. The menu this autumn term includes milk every day, in addition to some combination of bread, jam, butter, noodles, sandwiches and seasonal fruits. 

This breakfast is a great incentive for the students, many of whom come from low-income families, to come to school and it has demonstrated an improvement in their health. The Breakfast Period is also a great time for us to organically introduce students to ideas of hygiene, health and nutrition. 

As you may know, Pakistan is one of two countries where the crippling polio virus remains endemic. The issue is a sensitive one, with polio workers facing uncooperative attitudes and serious security threats. Earlier this month, the polio vaccine was administered to the students of Kindergarten, thanks to an initiative led by the Town Health Officer. A total of 117 students - those under the age of 5 - were given the drops of the polio vaccine by two Lady Health Visitors, with the support of our Health Room nurse Haji Bibi and the staff of the Kindergarten. 

We thank you once again for your support and hope you will continue to contribute towards bringing better nutrition to our kindergarten students.

Polio vaccination in the Breakfast Room
Polio vaccination in the Breakfast Room
Mac and Cheese!
Mac and Cheese!

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Sep 28, 2015

From scavenger to star student

Zubair
Zubair's story

Zubair is one of the best students at Al-Huda Education System, one of the upcoming private schools in Rawalpindi, in the heart of urban Pakistan. He goes to school every day, shows up to class on time in his neat, bright school uniform. This doesn't sound like a big deal to most, but for Zubair it is an unbelievable transformation.

Zubair grew up in a family of scavengers and spent most of his early childhood rummaging through garbage for materials he could sell at a junk shop. This was his only means of earning income - everyone in his family did the same. Life was tough. His house did not have clean running water and they had to walk three kilometres to fetch water. Working in the garbage all day, there was no time or awareness to make cleanliness or hygiene a priority.

Six years ago, his life took a turn for the better. He was recruited by Zindagi Trust to study in one of our primary schools for child workers. He finished an accelerated, non-formal course in primary education over the course of two years, learning basic literacy and numeracy, but also some essential life skills that come from being enrolled in a school setting. Within a year, he stopped going to garbage dumps and instead started collecting used cartons, hardboard wrappers and empty tins from outside bakeries and general stores. He credits his teachers at Zindagi Trust for making him realise the importance of cleanliness and hygiene.

Today, his family follows his example and works in recycling and he is no longer called a kabari, a somewhat derogatory term for scavengers. Zubair has made it a point to spread what he learns among his family members, and they have adopted other habits of hygiene, such as taking daily showers, washing their hands before meals, etc so that they stay healthy and fit for their long days of work. 

After graduating from our primary education course at the top of his class three years ago, he was placed in a good private school where he has done well and now reached the 8th grade. Despite being a top position holder, he does not have any definite high aims in life as yet, but is confident that his hard work will be rewarded.  

Zubair's dream of continuing education has been made possible through Zindagi Trust's program to sponsor the secondary education of its best primary school graduates, which in turn is sponsored by generous donors like yourself. Zubair is thankful to Zindagi Trust and its donors for making a difference in their lives. 

A big THANK YOU to all our supporters and donors for enabling us to educate the underprivileged, working children of Pakistan. We hope to continue receiving your support in the coming months to find more stars like Zubair. Here is a video of Zubair telling his story in his own words.

Links:

Sep 3, 2015

Meet Ali!

Ali reads in class
Ali reads in class

Ali Raza studies in the 5th grade at a Zindagi Trust School in Lahore. He never misses school, always scores above 90% on tests and exams, and shines at the top of his class. His father is a carpenter who struggles to support Ali and his seven sisters on an average monthly income of just over $100. After school, Ali helps sell fruit on a roadside cart to support his family. 

Ali grew up in abject poverty but remembers his earlier childhood days fondly. He believes the economic struggle of his family ended up being a great motivator for him to study, work hard and to never lose hope. His father did not prioritise educating his children, but his mother - who had been to school till the 5th grade - valued the power of education and was devoted to sending her children to school. Ali and his sisters started off studying at home with their mother, because they could not afford to enroll in school. Eventually, they all signed up to study at Zindagi Trust's free school for working children.

Ali is passionate about serving his country and wants to be a doctor when he grows up. He leaves us with a message from his mother who always consoled him when he felt down and hopeless and taught him to never lose hope because success was waiting for him at the end of the road. Here is a video of Ali talking about his journey and hopes.

The school Ali goes to is one of several "Paid to Learn" non-formal schools run by Zindagi Trust in the urban slums of Rawalpindi and Lahore. These schools do not charge any kind of fees and take in students of different age groups and integrate them into the education system by covering primary education in just over two years. Please consider making a donation to us to support the education of children like Ali!

Ali at work
Ali at work

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