Asad is a 14-year-old boy who lives with his parents and four siblings in Lahore. His father is a labourer and finds it difficult to support the family of his seven on his salary. From an early age, Asad has been helping his family by working in a small auto-parts factory near where he makes wires for motor-bikes. He makes 2000 rupees a month, which is a decent contribution to their household income on top of his father's average labour earnings of 14000 rupees a month.
Four years ago, Asad enrolled in our Paid to Learn school for working children where he finished primary school in two years. Having graduated near the top of his primary education class, he qualified for our continuing education scholarship, through which he was placed in the 6th grade of a private school near his home in Peco Road, Lahore. Committed to his studies as the path towards changing his and his family's lives, Asad is a punctual, regular and hard-working student. He has adjusted well to the challenges of life in a private school after completing an accelerated primary course with us in a non-formal classroom setting. He is currently a student of the 8th grade and wants to become a doctor when he grows up.
"I want to take full advantage of this life and serve humanity," said Asad when asked why he wants to become a doctor. "I want to inspire those who want to change themselves as well as the people and the world around them by spreading love."
In his free time, Asad loves to play cricket with his friends and has been selected in a team of the neighbourhood's better cricketers.
He thanks you for supporting him and other Zindagi Trust students like him and promises that he will pay back this goodwill by devoting his work and time to those in need in the future. Please consider making a donation or sharing the word about the Paid to Learn project and help our most promising young students continue their education!
Three months ago, our team sat down to re-assess the menu for the breakfast we serve to our Kindergarten students at SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School. Our goal was to ensure that every breakfast our students eat is nutritious, delicious and efficient to prepare and serve.
We got rid of things like French fries and muffins from the regular menu and decided to avoid foods high in sugar and refined flour in the future. We also replaced bakery bread with home-made whole-wheat chapati (flatbread) where possible, to ensure students get adequate fibre in their diet and avoid the inevitable mid-day sugar crash. To keep a balance between savoury and sweet breakfasts, we drafted various preparations of chickpeas and other beans such as curries or salads with seeds, grilled vegetables and vegetable sandwiches. It was also decided that we would try homemade jams and sweeten porridge with fruits instead of with sugar.
In the months of April and May, our tiny tots in the KG section enjoyed chapati, sweet porridge, spicy porridge, boiled chickpeas and vegetable sandwiches from the new menu. They also had milk every day, as usual. They enjoyed all the new additions, though it took them a while to get used to vegetables or jam rolled up in chapatis instead of in sandwiches. Their parents also appreciated the changes.
April was the beginning of our new term, which meant a brand new class of Kindergarten 1 got introduced to school breakfast (not common in Pakistani schools) for the very first time.The parents of these new students were blown away by the breakfast program and were all praises for it.
Overall, a total 263 students were served a daily breakfast in the last three months. We at Zindagi Trust are fully committed to serving students a healthy and nutritious menu and are constantly trying to improve it. Please share any suggestions you may have for nutritious breakfast ideas and keep supporting our program.
Shamsuddin is a 12-year-old who lives with his parents and 8 younger siblings in the slums of Rawalpindi. He starts his day early with a trip to the wholesale vegetable market in Islamabad where he helps his father buy onions and potatoes at a good price for them to sell at their own stall. Later, they bring their selection of produce to their vegetable stall in the city, where he helps attract buyers and manage sales till 1pm in the afternoon.
Until last year, his job as a salesman did not end in the afternoon but ran well into the evening. It was around then that our Academic Coordinator encountered him on one of his scouting visits and convinvced him and his father to let Shams enroll in our accelerated Paid to Learn program where children who work or live in urban slums complete primary school in two years, in a customised, non-formal, multi-age classroom every afternoon in a school near their home. He is now a second-grade student at our Fauji Colony School in Rawalpindi.
Shams attends school regularly and is always on time, showing interest and intelligence in his studies. He is known in school for his great sense of humour, something that pleases him when mentioned:
"Humour is the key to awakening wonder and wonder is where learning begins," he says with a smile.
He goes on to tell us that his life revolves around struggling for goals, small and big: fetch water, make money, go to school and finally become a good businessman. Being the eldest of 8 siblings, he also wants to be the umbrella of support for his family, ensuring security, comfort and peace for them. He is confident that he can achieve all these goals by working hard, a remarkably positive perspective for someone who has seen so much struggle at such a young age. Despite his realisation of his does not complain about having to work with his father, instead reflecting on how the secrets of the trade he has picked up will help him make it big as a businessman.
He is grateful to supporters like you who have given life to the working children community and enabled Zindagi Trust to put a good number of them in schools. He wanted to share this final message with you, something he repeats often to his classmates, friends and cousins:
"We were born underprivileged but thanks to the generosity of strangers who are supporting our education and our own hard work we will be privileged in the future."
Thank you for your support in helping us education children like Shams. We hope you will support us with another donation or share our work with your friends and family!