Child workers aim for the skies
Muskan is a twelve-year-old girl who wants to fly planes. She grew up in an impoverished and backward part of Pakistan where most girls don’t go to school. Fortunately, her father understood the value of educating women and was committed to making her dreams come true. She enrolled in Zindagi Trust’s free school for working children, where students finish primary school in just over two years time thanks to a customised, accelerated course.
Now in the fifth and final grade of the program, she is an eager student and loves to read. Despite logging long hours in the factory, her father took on an extra job as a part-time labourer to be able to support his daughter’s dreams. He buys her books from used book shops to encourage her interests, specially her aspirations of becoming a pilot.
She has recently joined a tailoring workshop, taught in a house near their home. Working as an apprentice here, she helps with the stitching as she learns and also irons clothes. She makes about $10 a month from this work and uses it to support her family income.
Given her commitment and good grades, we are confident that she will qualify for our secondary school scholarship and will continue her studies with our support and guidance. No matter how low her life’s circumstances may get,her confidence always motivates her to stay positive and chase her dreams. Students like Muskan, who struggle from a very young age to break the poverty-illiteracy trap through education,are an inspiration for rest of the girls in the school. Check out what she has to say about being at this school in this video.
We thank you for your support in transforming the lives of our students and hope you will continue to donate towards this cause.
Manan, the son of a laborer has great expectations from his life. His lives with his parents, two sisters and one brother. Both his sisters study in one of Zindagi Trust's primary schools for working children. Him and his brother graduated from the same primary school program and, being top performers in their classes, bagged scholarships to fund their secondary education. They are now enrolled in Class 8 and 9 of a private secondary school. All four siblings are position holders, consistently performing at the top of their respective classes. Manan credits his mother for their academic success. Unlike other mothers in her community, she was educated up to Class 5 and tutors the children of the neighbourhood, in addition to taking a keen interest in her own children's studies.
He developed an interest in reading thanks to his mother. She would collect pieces of newspaper used as food packaging, shape them into imaginative stories, paste them into a booklet and end each day by reading them out to Manan and his siblings. It's easy to see how he fell in love with reading and grew into a bookworm. His family's circumstances were such that he had to work as a child to support their household income, but he made the most of what life threw at him. Instead of working with his father as a laborer, he decided to work at a book shop. He goes there after school, around 3pm and works till 8pm, helping people select books. He is thankful that this job allows him the chance to read new books.
Manan says that the secret to happiness and contentment is to consider problems as a natural part of our lives and handle them with wisdom. "Problems will be like opportunities if handled with hard work and with the support of one's family," he says, betraying wisdom beyond his age. He wants to grow up and serve his nation by joining the Pakistan Army. He is very much indebted to Zindagi Trust and their supporters who make it possible for him and his siblings to get education at their best.
During the months of March, April and May, over 250 children studying in Kindergarten (KG) were served breakfast at SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School. Over a 100 of these children had been newly admitted to KG 1 and saw the practice of school-provided meals at breakfast for the first time. We are pleased to report that their parents were overwhelmed by the program and expressed their utmost gratitude and happiness with the facility.
New additions to the summer menu included fruit chaat (a kind of local fruit salad), potato cutlets and French toast. To beat the scorching heat, a traditional lemon drink Limo-Pani was also served to students several times during the day. Apart from the changes for the summer, bread, jam, butter, cake, egg, biscuits, sandwiches and wheat porridge etc. remained a part of the rotating menu, along with the permanent feature of milk which was served daily with breakfast.
In April, the school conducted a series of Parents’ Orientation sessions for parents of children enrolled in all the grades. Parents of KG students spoke about the breakfast program and really appreciated it. At this point, the school management encouraged the parents to promote the habit of consuming healthy food at home. Parents were also instructed not to pack chips, biscuits or other packaged fast food items in their children's snack-boxes. They were informed of the menu of breakfast provided to children at school and asked to make an effort to send a home-cooked snack instead of giving their young children money to buy snacks from the school canteen, if they felt that additional snacks were necessary.
We thank you for your continued support and hope you will continue to make these nutritious school meals possible!