Dec 16, 2016

Porridge and Pancakes for under-privileged Pakistani school-children

chowing down on chickpea salad with fruits
chowing down on chickpea salad with fruits

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!

 

boiled potatoes
boiled potatoes
a treat for breakfast - chocolate pancakes!
a treat for breakfast - chocolate pancakes!

Links:

Dec 15, 2016

Hello from Aqsa

At school
At school

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.

At work at the salon
At work at the salon

Links:

Nov 22, 2016

Scavenging for the stars

In class
In class

Amanullah is a 12-year-old boy who spends four hours every morning scavenging through garbage outside bakeries and dumpsters for scrap and recycleables. He sells the plastic, metal and paper to a scrap salesman for Rs 200 - about $2 - and gives the returns to his father. If he ever makes anything over Rs 200, he gets to keep it as pocket money. Everyone in his family from his father and his forefathers to his cousins worked as a scavenger. But Amanullah was a boy who dreamed of a different life.

Today he is studying in the second grade at Zindagi Trust's School for Working Children in Dhamia Rawalpindi. He considers himself lucky because there was no concept of sending children to school in his family. The school is located almost at his doorstep - until a couple of years ago, he used to stand by the boundary wall of the school every day, listening wistfully to the sound of children reading in their classrooms.

"My school is changing my life," he says. "My Urdu teacher is very kind and caring to all children."

Thanks to her, he has developed a habit of reading which is also supporting his overall academic performance. Even at work, he hunts old books from vendors for the pleasure of reading. He treasures these old story books. He feels like it was a miracle that his father enrolled him in the same school and encouraged him to concentrate on his studies. 

Amanullah says the great humanitarian, Abdul Sattar Edhi, has made a huge impact on his life. Inspired by Edhi, he wants to be an attendant in a hospital and take care of the elderly patients who are unable to perform routine tasks like eating, bathing and so on. He realizes that it will be a long, hard journey to achieve his goal but he believes that if he is passionate about doing something, nothing is out of reach. He hopes that with the support of Zindagi Trust he will be able to complete his Matriculation and qualify to work in a hospital. Please consider making a donation to continue supporting students like him in achieving their dreams.

Links:

 
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