During the past 3 months, more than 250 children at a low-income school in Pakistan's biggest city were fed a nutritious breakfast through Zindagi Trust's Kindergarten Breakfast Program.The program has been running for several years at SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School, as part of a larger school reform initiative and features a breakfast of milk along with wheat porridge, salad, boiled eggs, French toast, etc. depending on seasonal availability.
Earlier this month, our girls got a cute surprise when boys from Habib Public School, one of the city's most prestigious elite private schools, entered the breakfast room for a visit to talk, share and learn. Students from the two schools had breakfast together and exchanged thoughts about school and the importance of good nutrition and a good start to the day.
The teachers and management of the guest school appreciated breakfast program at SMB Fatima Jinnah School and was impressed with the procedure of serving the breakfast in a hygienic manner. The message of starting the day with a good breakfast has travelled to the community through our students and also through our direct interactions with their parents. Students who have moved to higher grades have developed a habit of having breakfast at home. They have also learned to bring homemade food items for their break in school rather than buying junk food, a message driven home through multiple meetings with parents.
Nutrition is the key to effective education for the next generation - please help us provide breakfast to our youngest students through a donation to the breakfast program!
Usman is a boy who grew up in the slums of Kot Lakhpat, Lahore. He finished an accelerated course of primary education at Zindagi Trust's Paid to Learn School on Peco Road, part of our network of non-formal primary schools in Lahore. He is now studying at Bab-e-Safa School, a mainstream private secondary school, thanks to our Secondary School Sponsorship Program. He is balancing quite a few challenges - early school timings, a heavy study workload, a job his family depends on, a wide range of extracurricular activities, and finally, building a good rapport with his teachers and classmates.
Usman was not like other Paid to Learn scholarship winners. Doing well in academics did not come naturally to him. He had to work very hard to be consistent in his studies but he managed to get the required grades in his non-formal primary education course to qualify for secondary school sponsorship - a huge achievement for him. This led to him being placed in a mainstream secondary school, where his education was completely financed by the trust.
Switching from non-formal schooling to formal schooling is a challenge for the most gifted academic student. It is a unique learning experience, one which the average student never goes through. For Usman, it was doubly hard because he always had a healthy interest in extra-curriculars as well as his work. He loves playing cricket, excelling at batting and fielding. He is very serious about fitness and trains hard every day with a rigorous exercise routine. Finally, he works as an assistant cook at a street fast food joint every evening to support his family with a $12 monthly income.
Now in the 6th grade, he has quickly adapted himself to school life. His class teacher has extended her academic support to him to be in line with the class work. Usman is enormously grateful to all our donors like yourself who make it possible for us to transform the lives of Pakistan's poorest children through education. Please consider making a donation to help us put more students like Usman in secondary school!
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.