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 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:

Mar 31, 2015

Meet Amna - a seventh-grader weaving her way out of poverty

Amna at school
Amna at school

Amna was six when she and her two sisters lost their mother. Her father was a driver who worked from 7 in the morning to 9 at night. There was nobody else at home to look after the girls, so their maternal aunt taught Amna how to do the household chores. She also taught Amna how to do embroidery on scarves, in an effort to enable her to support her father's meagre income from home. She rose to the occasion, demonstrating a sense of responsibility beyond her age and soon become an key contributor to her family.

Growing up in poverty, her father struggled to enrol her in school, so she joined Zindagi Trust's Paid to Learn programme, which provides an accelerated primary school education to urban working children. Always a committed student, she graduated at the top of her class and qualified for the trust's Secondary School scholarship, through which she was placed in a private school where she is now studying in the 7th grade.

Amna is a regular and conscientious student, keeping her teachers happy with her academic performance. Having seen life's struggles up close at a raw age, she seeks out the most from her school experience by participating actively in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. She has won prizes in speech competitions and for tableau performances.

She says that her family's hard times have taught her how move on in life and made her realize her potential.

"We curse adversity because it ruins our lives but it also shows us ways to come out of it stronger," she says, words you wouldn't expect from a seventh-grader. She wants to run a vocational training centre at home, so others like herself and her family can find a path out of poverty.

Amna, and other star graduates of Zindagi Trust's primary education programme for working children in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad have truly inspirational stories of  struggle both at school and at their workplace or home, being burdened with the responsibility of supporting their family income as children.  Your support helps make them aware of their rights as children, as workers and as citizens and, most of all, empowers them as responsible future citizens of Pakistan. We would like to thank you for your tremendous support and hope you will continue to donate to the programme to help sustain some transformations out of poverty and illiteracy.

Amna at work
Amna at work
Amna doing homework
Amna doing homework

Links:

Mar 31, 2015

Supporting nutrition through school breakfasts

Beginning with Breakfast
Beginning with Breakfast

Every morning, the tiny tots from kindergarten at SMB Fatima Jinnah Girls school walk with great confidence to the Breakfast Room where they pick up their plate and their cup of milk themselves. The latest addition to the breakfast menu has been chicken sandwiches and chicken nuggets. Other than milk, the breakfast menu has included bread with jam or butter, fresh fruits, soup or instant noodles. Fortified energy powders like Horlicks or the popular rosewater syrup (Rooh-Afza) are added to milk, to encourage children to drink it. This past quarter, breakfast was served every morning to 235 students. 

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day for children. As the first meal, it gets the body going for the rest of the day. Eating breakfast also has an impact on school performance. “Study after study shows that kids who eat breakfast function better,” Dr. Schneider says. “They do better in school, and have better concentration and more energy.” However, studies also show that a big percentage of young children skip breakfast and as they grow older, more of them completely give up breakfast.

Though these studies have been conducted in the West where most of the kids skip breakfast despite having the means to afford a breakfast, the numbers would be much worse in Pakistan's urban slums where an average family with 5 to 6 kids can not afford to provide a proper breakfast to their families. Thanks to your generous donations, the students of Kindergarten at SMB Fatima Jinnah Girls School, most of whom come from low socio-economic backgrounds, are able to start their school day with breakfast which keeps them healthy and alert and also instills nutrition at the head of the day as a lifelong habit. We are thankful to your support for making this programme a success and look forward to your support in the future.

In the Breakfast Room
In the Breakfast Room

Links:

 
   

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