Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan

by Zindagi Trust
Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan
Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan
Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan
Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan
Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan
Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan
Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan
Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan
Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan
Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan
Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan
Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan
Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan
Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan
Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan
Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan
Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan
Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan
Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan
Art for 3200 schoolgirls in Pakistan
Art room of Khatoon-e-Pakistan
Art room of Khatoon-e-Pakistan

As the months ran forth and the academic year came to a halt for the summer break, the art program continued to bring students together in the schools of Zindagi Trust. During June 2022, Zindagi trust hosted a two week summer camp in their schools for students of grade 5-8 where multiple theoretical and interactive art classes were conducted. The focus of the classes was to channel mental well-being through art and inculcate a positive mindset in the children, providing them an avenue to express their emotions creatively. Our art program head, Ms. Shakil held classes inspired by the renowned artist Judith Butler’s style of work. Students were given different figures such as old dolls and soft toys alongside material such as tape, markers, ropes, buttons etc. to reimagine and recreate what their personal figure would look like. Majority of the students quoted that the process was quite cathartic and brought about a plane of self-awareness that they had not thought of before.

Similarly, other classes such as mandala colouring, origami making, zine-making helped students instil patience in them while narrating their personal experiences and stories through art. At SMB Fatima Jinnah School, the students even painted a wall mural that visualises the map and culture of Pakistan. Students were also taught art DIY projects and cards that they can utilise to enhance their day to day lives efficiently. Students learned how to make pop-up gift cards including a special father’s day card, alongside learning how to stitch bags out of discarded cloths or making jewellery and bands out of yarn. An exhibition was hosted at Khatoon-e-Pakistan school at the end of the summer camp where students proudly displayed all their art creations.

Prior to the art-intensive summer camp, in May 2022, The annual Colgate “My Bright Smile” drawing competition was held. Every year students participate in great numbers in the national and international level to gain both experience and expertise. This May, it was held at SMB Fatima Jinnah School and the theme was “Why My Bright Smile is Important.” Students had to use the colours black and white using either crayon, paint, colored pencil, acrylic pastel, ink, magic markers, or line drawings to create their artwork. Students’ artwork is judged on multiple fronts such as originality, creativity, and imagination.

To provide students with platforms that can augment their personal skills and confidence is what Zindagi Trust believes in. Mr. Roy, the Founder and President of Zindagi Trust has a YouTube series of local children’s animated stories called Tiflatoon. He created the series to encourage students to sharpen their creative and urdu skills. The art department at Khatoon-e-Pakistan collaborated with the urdu department and guided students to prepare illustrations for Tiflatoon.

Furthermore, The High Commissioner of Canada, Ms.Gilmore paid a visit to Khatoon-e-Pakistan. She admired the infrastructure and programs at our schools, especially praising the art room. She commented that the standard of the art program is at par, if not better than in elite and private schools across the world. Moreover, August saw the return of students to school after a long summer break. As students settled in the new academic year, the art program commenced with new and exciting lessons. Grades 7, 8, and 9 are being taught elements of pottery, pop art, and memory abstract art.

Ms. Shakil also took the responsibility of designing a detailed art curriculum for grades 1 - 8. This curriculum is in the review phase and will hopefully be implemented in government schools across Pakistan to bring the progressive change needed.

Origami art class during summer camp'22
Origami art class during summer camp'22
totebags with student artwork
totebags with student artwork
Pop up cards made by students exhibited
Pop up cards made by students exhibited
Mandala activity during summer camp art classes
Mandala activity during summer camp art classes
DIY pouch made by a student
DIY pouch made by a student
students during Judith Butler inspired art class
students during Judith Butler inspired art class
students painting mural at SMB school
students painting mural at SMB school
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Students Holding Plants for Texture Activity
Students Holding Plants for Texture Activity

The art program is a key component of the holistic education that brims life to our schools at Zindagi Trust. Hence, consistent efforts are made to ensure the program continues to provide value and unmatched skills to the students.

In January 2022, informed teachers’ observations at Khatoon-e-Pakistan (KPS) and SMB Fatima Jinnah School were conducted to evaluate the teaching performance in regards to student response, retention, and artwork production amongst many other assessment criteria. To maintain records of all the data, a file is kept for every individual teacher so progress can be gauged overtime.

Furthermore, expansion of the program is underway for which multiple measures are being taken such as the art room in SMB Fatima Jinnah is being revamped to improve the space. Two new faculty members with expertise in fine arts were on boarded recently, adding to the existing team of faculty with prowess in pottery and sculpting, crafts, collage making, and art education. A curriculum is being developed alongside lesson plans and activities for the schools of Zindagi Trust which would not only comprehensively cover theoretical concepts, but will be designed to incorporate emotional well-being through art as well. The art lead at both schools recently completed her MA in Art Education and is overseeing all amplifications of the program intricately and extensively with plans of bringing an expert curriculum consultant on board. Zindagi trust anticipates further substantial progress in the next few months, including developing a sculpture department, transitioning to digital mediums of art, and reviving the art club.

Zindagi Trust understands the significance of showcasing our talent to others to further motivate our students. In February, there was a mini art exhibition at Khatoon-e-Pakistan School where different art pieces by students of grades 1 - 10 were displayed in the art room. The District Education Officer paid a visit to the exhibition and was inspired by the various art methods that were displayed which included, patterned Zentangle portraits - each grid and pattern representing a personal artistic expression or trait, and pop art styled portraits integrated with stitching and printing. The portraits recreated on the canvas were originally photographs taken by the students of their classmates during an activity to sharpen photography skills and communication amongst the students.

As an avid believer of making holistic education accessible to all, Zindagi Trust’s broader vision encompasses their programmatic interventions to be replicated and introduced in schools throughout the local state Zindagi Trust was please when other notable NGOs such as The Citizens Foundation (TCF) reached out to garner support in implementing similar art measures in their schools.

Learning art is not limited to the classroom; our students eagerly participate in external events that provide them with action-oriented and practical experience. Amna, an 8th grade student from Khatoon-e-Pakistan secured second position in the inter school drawing competition “Citypedia” organized by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics. The theme of the event was “This is My City” and Amna recreated a stunning visual of the iconic and historical monument in Karachi - Frere Hall.

Similarly, students from KPS participated in the Secondary Educational Programming Workshop conducted by Karachi Biennale Trust in the month of March where students got hands-on experience of photography, videography, camera angles, script writing and storyboarding. Apart from the informative workshops, the program included a site visit to the Quaid-e-Azam House Museum where students were exposed to local history and architecture. Karachi Biennale Trust have also expressed interest in hosting their final documentary screening event at Khatoon-e-Pakistan with three other schools attending as guests.

Anam, the art department lead, is passionate about making lasting changes to aid both students and teachers. She envisions equipping teachers with developmental considerations like personality/cognitive development that they can impart to their students. In a conversation she quoted “A lesson about Van Gogh should not only enlighten students about his craft, but also teach them different underlying themes such as creative thinking, social responsibility, and any other messages students might be able to identify through art.” She believes a teaching style like this can bring out students’ individuality, which is the outcome the art team hopes for. The art program exists not just to impart knowledge and skills but to help students embrace their true selves and exhibit themselves through individualised expression.

DEO During Visit at the Art Exhibition
DEO During Visit at the Art Exhibition
Zentangle Portrait Created by a Student
Zentangle Portrait Created by a Student
Our Student's Artwork at the Citypedia Event
Our Student's Artwork at the Citypedia Event
Students During Art Class
Students During Art Class
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Student Drawing For Voices of Youth Challenge
Student Drawing For Voices of Youth Challenge

September 2021 saw a somewhat return to normal for students at our schools, as the campus doors finally opened to welcome them for regular classes. There was a period of readjustment as students navigated school in a world still struck with COVID-19. The return to school reinvigorated the spirits of our students, and what followed in the art department was active participation from them in the classroom as well as in various inter-school and regional competitions.

We witnessed numerous art events in the last few months of 2021. Some notable events include a Literacy Day Poster Competition organized by Giving Tuesday Pakistan, a Virtual Water Color Painting Contest by Splash, ArtBeat’s National Child Art Competition, a UNICEF art challenge organized by AGI Denim, and the Faiz Mela. Students not only took part in these competitions for sheer interest, but they were also determined to be among the winners. 

In October, our students participated in an art competition organized by ArtBeat, called ‘National Child Art Competition.’ It was held online across Pakistan and honored students of all schools and abilities. Some of the topics for the competition were “My Teacher,” “My Doctor,” “My School”, “My Home,” self-hygiene, coronavirus, and hope for the future. In the category of Sindh and Balochistan, some of our students were awarded with prizes. One student from Khatoon-e-Pakistan School (KPS) received the ArtBeat Special Award and one student from SMB received the prize of honor.

15 students from both of our schools participated in the AGI Denim sponsored UNICEF Children’s Day illustration challenge called “Voices of Youth.” Their vibrant artwork captivated the audience as two students from KPS secured 1st & 2nd positions and one student from SMB secured 3rd position. At the Literacy Day Poster Competition organized by Giving Tuesday Pakistan in September, 7th grader Alishba Shahid from SMB Fatima School scored 3rd position. 

In December, we held a competition between KPS and SMB in collaboration with the Urdu department. This event, called the “Faiz Mela”, had the theme of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poetry and its fusion with art. Teachers explained the poetry to the students and suggested ways in which they could use art to express poetry in an aesthetic fashion. Students then prepared live artworks inspired by Faiz’s poetry. 

Furthermore, our curious students participated in the Children’s Learning Festival at the Arts Council in December, where they displayed their brilliant artwork, including portraits, paintings, and painted pots. In the same month, a few of our students visited the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVS) thesis display, where they observed beautiful art designs and interacted with graduating IVS students. 

Head of the Art Department, Anam Shakil, was the one who developed the art program and organised all the art events. She said, “My personal goal is to introduce things gradually and carefully, and not to overwhelm the students because students have returned to school after almost two years. As much as to introduce many things, I want art to remain a source of relaxation for the students and become an avenue for them to express their emotions, so I try not to push for too many changes too quickly.” 

Apart from organizing art events for students to engage in creative activities and to hone their creative thinking skills, there was progress behind the scenes as well. For instance, the art department produced the Scheme of Study for art as a map to guide teachers about effective instruction, and to keep track of teaching and learning progress. To further help teachers excel at their job, there was a lesson plan development workshop held in September 2021 and an assessment rubric workshop in October 2021. Speaking about the progress made, Anam Shakil explained, “We also focused on teachers’ professional development this year. We wanted to enable our teachers to work independently. 

Ms. Shakil also pushed for art exams in both schools. Prior to this, there were no examinations for art like there are for other subjects, and existing examinations or test scores for art were not counted in students’ final grades. Thanks to her efforts, our schools now have proper exams for art that measure student progress, and the marks are counted in students’ final transcripts.

Art remains crucial for students’ creativity and emotional wellbeing, and with steps like these, we are advancing towards an art program that meets these standards in the best ways. The months of September to December have surely been productive for art students, and we hope to continue with this in the coming months.

Student Admiring Art at IVS Thesis Display
Student Admiring Art at IVS Thesis Display
Students During the Voices of Youth Challenge
Students During the Voices of Youth Challenge
By Amna Arif - ArtBeat Competition
By Amna Arif - ArtBeat Competition
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Art Competition Winner from KPS, Marine Life theme
Art Competition Winner from KPS, Marine Life theme

Online Art Classes

Our resilient teachers have adapted to the online learning situation brilliantly and ensured that online learning for art classes is possible for our students. It is indicative of the steadfastness and motivation our art teachers have towards ensuring that art remain an integral part of their student’s lives, as well as Zindagi Trust’s commitment towards ensuring growth through artistic methods which have proven to be highly effective in both student self-growth and academic learning.

Since our last update, in June our teachers continued with online learning classes in which they often had to work beyond their usual work hours to accommodate all of the students. Teachers planned interesting art activities for students that they could accomplish with basic resources they could find around their homes. One such activity was creating a color wheel using the colors found in different spices and using them to paint. Other activities included silhouette photography, graffiti art, symmetrical design and experimenting with contrasting warm and cool colors.

Art Competition

Our teachers also facilitated our students in participating in an Art Competition held by NJV (Narayan Jagannath Vaidya School, the first government school established in Sindh). The interschool Art Competition was conducted in June with results announced in August, and was focused on two major themes, ‘Marine Litter’ and ‘Animal and their Habitat’. Students from Grade 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th participated with a total of 51 artworks submitted from our school alone. All of the participants in the competition from our school made their art at home, with resources found around their homes with aid and direction from the art teachers.  Aleena, a student from Grade 8, Khatoon e Pakistan Government Girls School managed to secure the 2nd position from all students and schools that had participated.

Day of Summer

In July our schools were closed for summer break, at this time, the Special Programs department arranged ‘A Day of Summer’, where sessions on environment, photography, music and art were conducted for students. Our Art teachers arranged many interesting activities for the students to celebrate summer and see how art could be a way to have fun while also learning new skills. These activities included quilling, straw crafts, print making and texture art.

As summer break has drawn to a close, our teachers have prepared for the new term by creating distinct learning objectives and goals for the students. With the lead of Anam Shakil, the head of Zindagi Trust’s Art Program, they are planning to introduce interesting new ways to showcase student art work so that it can be displayed and accessed despite the restrictions that the pandemic has presented and are hopeful of providing students a mantle to celebrate their artworks further.

Art Competition Winner artwork, Marine Life theme
Art Competition Winner artwork, Marine Life theme
Day of Summer, Art Workshop
Day of Summer, Art Workshop
Cool and Warm colors art activity from home
Cool and Warm colors art activity from home
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Student submission for Space Art Competition
Student submission for Space Art Competition

Since our last update in January, schools remained opened until April and students continued to arrive in gradual sets of two on alternate days of the week. At this time, the Art Program provided students with many activities and new learning opportunities despite the restrictions faced due to the COVID 19 protocols. In part this was helped by the return of Anam Shakil, who had helped design our art program in 2015, as Head of the Art Program.

Art Submissions

Students from the 7th grade at the schools in Karachi, SMB Fatimah Jinnah Government Girls School and Khatoon e Pakistan Government Girls School as well as at the Shangla Girls School, attended sessions with Yumna Majeed, a space educator who discussed the many wonders of space and the life of an astronaut. She encouraged students to create art for a competition about the different matters found in space which led to selected student submissions being sent to an international competition held by the Space for Art Foundation. The winners of this competition will get a chance to have their art sent to space – a prospect that our students found delightful and fascinating!

Our 9th and 10th grade students also attended a session with Rida Khan, an urban planner from Karachi Public, on a project about the local Clifton Beach. Our students learned about the role of urban planners and after the session submitted their recommendations on what a public beach should look like, as a part of the urban design process.

Art Activities

In art classes, among other fun learning activities, students were introduced to the work of brilliant local artists like Ahmed Parwaz and the calligrapher Anwer Jalal Shemza, also getting a chance to learn and replicate his unique style of gapped calligraphy. Students from Grade 8 at Khatoon e Pakistan Government Girls School also made self-portraits in which they recognized the achievements and problems they faced during the pandemic and represented them in creative ways. Another activity these students were given was to create fashion illustrations using materials that popped out of the page. Students were also told to draw upon their imagination to create animated characters as a part of a character design activity and many of them produced fantastic artworks that can be viewed below.

A Collaborative and Resourceful Approach

Having joined in March, Anam said that she had decided to work with teachers for improving the Art Program by discussing and brainstorming activities and critically thinking about student learning outcomes instead of providing pre-prepared lesson plans. Since the lockdown in April, Anam said, “We adapt activities so no student would need to buy a single resource, asking them to recycle paper, use items found in their kitchens and provide alternative ways of doing their assignments.” Online teaching has been difficult and this resourceful way of creating art has made students excited and kept them engaged. We hope you enjoyed reading and that the creative spirit shown in our students’ art brings you hope in these bleak times.

Student submission for reimagining Clifton Beach
Student submission for reimagining Clifton Beach
Student work inspired by calligrapher Anwer Shemza
Student work inspired by calligrapher Anwer Shemza
Student artwork showing a pandemic self portrait
Student artwork showing a pandemic self portrait
Student's fashion illustration
Student's fashion illustration
Student's character design, an animated character
Student's character design, an animated character
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Organization Information

Zindagi Trust

Location: Karachi, Sindh - Pakistan
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @zindagitrust
Project Leader:
Sana Kazmi
Karachi, Sindh Pakistan
$1,714 raised of $25,000 goal
 
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$23,286 to go
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