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.
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:

Mar 4, 2015

Persevering through poverty - a 12-year-old's inspirational story

Qaisra reading from her coursework at home
Qaisra reading from her coursework at home

Qaisra is a 5th-grader who works at a beauty salon to support her family. She is enroled in one of Zindagi Trust's schools for working children in Lahore. Her father is a laborer and earns a meagre 7000 PKR a month, which does not completely support his family of seven children.

Barely twelve years old, she wakes up early in the morning to do household chores, goes to the salon, then to school in the afternoon and then again to the salon. She learnt how to cut children's hair and has four to five assignments waiting for her at the salon every evening. She is confident in her skills and has shown maturity beyond her years by taking up the responsibility of supporting her family income.

As a student, she is regular, punctual, hardworking and has a solid understanding of math and science, always doing well in tests and exams. She is a quiet child but displays a great self-confidence in her participation in class activities. She has seen the harsh reality of growing up in poverty but she strongly believes that education will enable her to find her way out of poverty. She also wants to take on a leadership role to help girls like herself to empower themselves through education and live the lives of their choice.

Zindagi Trust sponsors not only the non-formal primary education programme that Qaisra is enrolled in, but also funds the continuing education of our best performing primary school graduates. It is a matter of great pride for us that half of our beneficiaries are girls who will one day be able to pull themselves out of poverty through education. We express our deep gratitude to our donors for their continued support in making these programs possible.

Qaisra in school
Qaisra in school

Links:

 
   

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