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!
From the very first day that Yashwa enrolled in a Zindagi Trust School for working children, his has worked hard on his studies and kept up his good grades. His teachers follow his progress keenly and always encourage him to pursue his dreams. He is currently in Class 5 and has great ambitions for his future - he wants to become an engineer and build a greater Pakistan for his parents and his nation.
Yashwa grew up in a slum in suburban Lahore. He always saw his parents struggling to support him and his other five siblings on the meagre earnings from his father's work at a welding workshop. When he was barely old enough to be in grade school, Yashwa joined his father and started working as a helper at the workshop.
Our Academic Field Coordinators found him and convinced his parents as well as the workshop owners to allow him to come to school in the afternoons. He enrolled in an accelerated program which gets working children through primary school in just over two years. Today, he is in the fifth and final grade of this program. He still helps his father at the workshop, chipping in four hours every morning before going to school in the afternoon.
Yashwa has faith that his education will make a huge difference in shaping his life. He is thankful to Zindagi Trust, and most of all to supporters like you, for enabling him to get an opportunity to chase his dream. Check out Yashwa speaking about his school and work and future plans here: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.