Muskan is a 12-year-old girl working in an emboridery shop where she earns $12 a month to support her father, who makes $120 as a labourer. She is studying at Zindagi Trust's Walton Road School in Lahore. The school is part of the Paid to Learn non-formal education program which brings working children from urban slums up to speed with primary education.
On her very first day at our school, Muskan realized that there were just as many girls as boys in every class, an observation which would go on to shape her career goals. Speaking to her teacher here about wanting to become a lawyer, she says education is the right of every child but in our society boys get preference over girls.
"On my father's side of the family, I see this discrimination. The boys get to go to school and the girls are given the responsiblity of taking care of their home and their siblings."
She convinced her paternal aunts and uncles to send all their children to school and thanks to her persistence and passion, four of her girl cousins are now studying in the same school as she is. We are so delighted to have this bright young education activist among us and hope you will continue to support our cause and help us educate more working children across Pakistan.
Muskan is a keen student, always regular and always on time. Her academic performance score so far is 87%, rated as Very Good. After finishing with work and school for the day, she tutors her siblings and cousins every evening. She is also enthusiastic about sports, having recently bagged the 2nd position in the one-legged race and the spoon race at her school's Sports Day. Once a week, she also puts up a dramatic performance at home with her cousins, where she always plays the role of a lawyer.
realizes the need to raise a voice against the injustice happening in our society and also that doing so is only possible if you are aware of your rights. She thanks you for your support in educating children like her and hopes you will encourage your friends to make a donation too!
Speaking with a wisdom not common in children her age, she realises the need to raise a voice against the injustice happening in our society and also that doing so is only possible if you are aware of your rights. She thanks you for your support in educating children like her and hopes you will encourage your friends to make a donation too!
During the past three months, 254 children from the Kindergarten Section of SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School in the heart of Karachi were served a nutritious breakfast every day. As winter approaches, we have introduced a few wholesome new items to the menu such as chickpea salad, boiled potatoes and sweet porridge.
We also recently made the switch from the commonly available UHT-milk to a brand of hormone-free cow's milk to ensure our students get the best bang for buck in terms of nutrition. The baseline menu continues to include milk along with a rotation of fruit salad, bread and butter/jam, boiled eggs, sandwiches, potato cutlets and wheat porridge. The children also enjoyed chocolate pancakes as a treat one day, thanks to our wonderful breakfast chef Abidi.
In November, during the term PTM, the parents of our students specifically appreciated the breakfast service initiative provided at school completely free thanks to your donation. At this meeting we reiterated that parents and their children should make an effort to establish healthy eating practices at home. We also informed the parents that children at that age were not allowed to bring chips and other unhealthy fast food snacks to school and encouraged them to pack home-cooked, nutritious snacks for their children.
Please continue to donate to this program to help us fuel the brains of our future generations!
Hi, I'm Aqsa Zulfiqar Ali. I come from a poor family and that used to mean I could not afford an education. When I would see other kids going to school I would think - if only I could go to school, I would study so hard and support my parents.... But all I could to was household chores. Then one day someone told my mom about Zindagi Trust (and their schools for working children). I was delighted to hear that there was a way I too could get an education!
I received my primary education at a Zindagi Trust school. I am now a Class 8 student at Allama Iqbal Public High School and the trust is still supporting the cost of my education. My favourite subject is science and I want to continue my studies beyond school.
I study in the morning and in the evenings I work in a beauty parlour to support my parents. I make a hundred rupees (about a dollar) every day. Working at a salon made me realize that education is very important in every field of life. The goal behind my drive for education is my dream of becoming a doctor. If I achieve this dream, I will treat poor patients free and make my parents and my country proud. I want to say two things about education: It is the duty of every Muslim woman and man to acquire an education. Educate yourself, even if it means you have to go to (somewhere as far as) China. Thank you Zindagi Trust!
When Aqsa joined our Paid to Learn school for working children, her passion for education stood out from the get go. She bagged the top position in every accelerated grade session. Her father still struggles to make ends meet, from his Rs 15000 driver's salary but she qualified for our secondary school sponsorship on finishing primary school. She was placed at a mainstream public high school on Walton Road and continues to shine there. She has won the Most Punctual Student award and has a great work ethic, both at school and at the salon she works at.
Listen to Aqsa in her own words here and here, see her at work here.