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
Artist Talk on Zoom with Shireen
Artist Talk on Zoom with Shireen

Building on from the Learning Packs we sent to our students early on in the lockdown, our art teachers started filming video lessons that were bolstered by Q&A with the students in the Whatsapp classroom. This proved to be a great, practical platform - students could view lessons whenever they got access to a smartphone (usually a relative's and not their own), had time to engage with their teacher's ideas and prompts as well as to explore their own interpretation of the topic. Our teachers designed a host of activities: a haldi (turmeric) tie-dye exercise, arranging fruits and vegetables into portraits as mannerist art, making DIY paints at home with kitchen ingredients, and of course finding a creative outlet to formulate and express their thoughts on being stuck at home, being scared of getting COVID, missing school and suffering from the unprecedented urban flooding due to the recent Karachi rains. 80 of our students also enjoyed a talk with Amsterdam-based artist and museologist Shireen Ikramullah, learning the elements of art through a wonderful curation of some of the most stunning art from all over the world.

 

Being away from school, from their friends and, for many, from the only safe space they can freely enjoy, was a uniquely stressful time for our students, as it has been for children across the world during school closures. On top of this, the fear of catching coronavirus and bearing the economic impact of the shutdowns it necessitated, all added to the mental distress of our schoolchildren. To address this, we decided to begin lay counseling for our students, in order to support their mental wellbeing during this strange and difficult time. Realising that art teachers have always had a special connection with students and that for many students the art room is their safe space where they can truly express themselves, we decided to train our art teachers as lay counselors. After a 10-hour training spread out over 2 days in 2 groups, our teachers began doing phone check ins with students grade by grade. They ask them about their routine, chat about their time at home, give them some self care tips as well as some art activities if they showed an interest in art. Once a week, each group of lay counselors meets me and the School Counselor to discuss and review their calls, get support where they are struggling and refer any serious cases to the school management.

 

We hope you enjoy reading the following accounts of two of our art teachers about teaching art and counseling during school closure, in their own words:

 

"As a new art teacher, distance teaching has been nothing short of an amazing experience. I was connected to the students through online art classes during this difficult time. They showed a lot of interest in the art activities my colleagues and I suggested and were always asking us for the next art activity. This was a way for them to feel that they were not far from us, that they were connected to their teachers, to school. It gave them hope that schools would be back again and they would restart the things they like again. Some students who did not show much interest in art earlier showed a lot of interest now because they were a bit more relaxed, their minds were more free to explore art and so they were able to enjoy it. 

About lay counseling - when you heal others, you heal yourself. I felt I learned something after every check-in call. Children deal with adversity so well, they have "mazay mazay kay" - very interesting and innovative - ideas when we asked how they made use of this time and adapted to the restrictions. I also learned that everyone's life is very different and if there is a difficult situation like this pandemic, everyone has their own unique way of bringing themselves out of it or living through it. Sometimes I would get so upset thinking how a student would survive or manage a particularly difficult situation but the child would find a way, an activity, a hobby, and get through - in fact teaching their teachers how to get through challenges.

After talking to all the students I can confidently say that there is an artist somewhere in every child who shows the creativity of their mind in a new way every day, not necessarily on canvas or through an artwork, but I think managing life well is also creativity, which I learned from my students. The biggest thing I felt was that these children have a lot of hope, they have this solid faith that they will get through this and good times are coming. So, lay counseling was a great lexperience and I learned so much. 

There were some situations where children were going through a really critical time, where the problems they were facing seemed too difficult to overcome through counseling or talking to them. We shared these with our group of lay counselors, with the School Counselor who was guiding us and forwarded them to the School Principal/Project Manager and they tried their best to support the children and their families. Our overall goal was - because this situation was so weird - to keep them involved in activities, to keep them connected to us and to boost their spirits. 

One student, Fareeba, told me she wasn't that interested in art before. She was keeping herself busy in housework during the lockdown until one day she was cleaning a cupboard and found some paints and art supplies which led her to create some art and slowly develop an interest in art. Now whenever she gets some free time, specially given that schools are closed, she makes some art. She's linked to me on Whatsapp and I give her some tips, where I'm usually just gently guiding her to consider a new perspective. Her artwork has really progressed during this time. I really like the art she has been making now. This was one of my favourite stories of change that I saw within a student during the lockdown. One of the most recent pictures of her art that Fareeba shared with me on Whatsapp is of a dark skyline, saying she loves shadows and this image just came to her mind - a sign that art her become a tool for expression for her."

- Fizza, Art teacher at Khatoon-e-Pakistan Government Girls School

 

"Distance learning was quite a learning experience for me. Lots went well but there were also a lot of challenges. I think distance learning has its limitations - it is not easy, specially for younger children who are not able to pick things quickly. When they're in front of us it's a different dynamic, they understand things from our facial and vocal expressions, from our demonstrated examples on the spot. In the classroom - or art studio - it was easy to communicate with them, to introduce a concept both orally and visually by drawing on the board and adding more details as needed. Now we had to deliver perfectly edited videos which would capture our entire lesson and also proactively answer any questions we anticipate they might have. In the (physical) classroom of course we could easily answer any questions that would come up but now that they were not in front of us we would have to craft our video in a way that would ensure there would not be any need for further questions or explanations as children did not have easy phone access for live back and forth). While this helped me get better at making and editing videos, it also made me realise the limitations of distance or online learning. In art your expressions matter so much and this must have been so challenging for our students to understand but we all did our best.

Overall, it went quite well, our students really enjoyed their lessons and stayed engaged and it also gave them a chance to divert their mind from the gloom of the disease and the lockdown. They invested their time in art and shared a lot of their artwork with us. I was so happy to learn that my young students realised that their teachers wanted to work hard with them, that they valued the explanations we had sent and the video lessons we made for them. Since May, they participated in several art competitions - a covid19 awareness art competition, another on the topic of what they miss about their school by Aahung, another by Colgate. It was a time-consuming process to guide the students remotely, select their work, scan and label it but it was so rewarding to see their wonderful work during the lockdown. Their awards felt like our achievements."

- Minhaj, Art Teacher at SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School

 

* Please note that wherever in this report we have used the full names of a participant or facilitator, we have their consent to do so.

COVID19 art
COVID19 art
Turmeric tie dye - a kitchen art activity
Turmeric tie dye - a kitchen art activity
Artist Talk on Zoom with Shireen
Artist Talk on Zoom with Shireen
"Labelling my lockdown emotions"
"Labelling my lockdown emotions"
Student artwork on urban flooding in Karachi
Student artwork on urban flooding in Karachi
Mannerist interpretation of food as portraits
Mannerist interpretation of food as portraits
Lay Counseling training for our art teachers
Lay Counseling training for our art teachers

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Art supplies, art & activity sheets for students
Art supplies, art & activity sheets for students

COVID-19 may limit their movement but not their creativity

It has now been more than two full months since COVID-19 shut down our schools and put the whole world in lockdown. In early to-mid March, we conducted a household survey to gauge the needs of our students, asking their parents about the number of meals they were eating, whether they required food rations to survive the lockdown, and what kind of access to technology they had at home to be able to consume educational content. Based on the findings of the survey, care packs were put together containing food and hygiene essentials as well as learning materials including art and activity worksheets with colour pencils. 

When we decided to send these care packages to the homes of our students, we knew we needed to nourish both their body and soul. To encourage them to turn to art and creativity in this time of isolation and uncertainty, we thought of some ideas for activities that would promote mindfulness, gratitude, reflection and fun and reached out to some incredible local artists and illustrators to design these learning packs. Two of our own brilliant Art teachers contributed to the learning packs. All the art sheets and activity sheets were designed especially for each age group; from pre-primary to primary and secondary level. Even our little kindergarteners were engaged creatively at home 

These generous artists created though-provoking activities such as inviting students to draw what they are most grateful about in their gratitude jar, coloring (in their own style) in a portrait of Zeenat Haroon who was a founding member of the Women’s National Guard and is a symbol of women’s empowerment of Pakistan, and inviting students to customize a drawing of them enjoying with their friends. One of our favorite coloring sheets is the girl in the mask, reinforcing the concept of safety during this pandemic through a fun activity. Another one of our favorite activities is creating an origami butterfly.

These learning packs have been made available to download for free from our website.

Till date, almost 2300 students have continued learning and enjoying through art from home during the lockdown. Our students have really brought their learning packs to life! Our inboxes have been bursting with colour and creativity - the students are enjoying these activities so much that they are already demanding the next set of learning packs. 

In addition to the learning packs, we asked our students to practice their creative muscles and create their own awareness posters about safety measures to follow during the epidemic, and were blown away by their submissions!

Donate!

Research shows that teaching children art at school leads to improvement of students' academic, social, and emotional outcomes. We need you to donate now more than ever to support arts for our students to ensure we can continue to support them creatively while they are in lockdown.

One of the sheets for secondary students
One of the sheets for secondary students
A gratitude exercise with a DIY mask
A gratitude exercise with a DIY mask
Learning about Zeenat Haroon
Learning about Zeenat Haroon
Practicing origami at home
Practicing origami at home
A filled gratitude jar featuring a mango
A filled gratitude jar featuring a mango
Awareness of safety measures drawn by a student
Awareness of safety measures drawn by a student

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
Students working on a banner for the CLF
Students working on a banner for the CLF

We have had an exciting last few months at our adopted government girls’ schools, Khatoon-e-Pakistan (KPS) and SMB Fatima Jinnah (SMB). Read on to find out.

Art Program gets stamp of approval from world renowned artist

We had the pleasure of hosting globally acclaimed artist Imran Qureshi at one of our adopted government girls’ school - Khatoon-e-Pakistan Government Girls School. He observed the student artwork that was on display in our beautiful art room as well as a class that was under way. We got to share with him the various assignments and activities which constitute our innovative Art Program and also shared our vision behind teaching art at government schools. Qureshi, who is also a faculty member at the National College of Arts, the premier arts education institute of the country, said The way art is being taught here I have not seen at any other school, including expensive private schools, in fact, a few of the pieces on display here could easily pass off as the work of my own university students!” He specially appreciated the objectives behind each assignment and the focus on exposing students to a variety of complex mediums aimed at helping schools move beyond the traditional perception of art being limited to a painting or a drawing.

The best part was that our students got a personal introduction to his work and the philosophy behind it. They also got a chance to help create his installation titled "the Garden Within" - a comment on the current ecological situation in Karachi depicted through a massive mountain of crumpled sheets of paper on which his own art was printed - at the historic Sadequain Gallery at Frere Hall for the Karachi Biennale 2019 (a public showcase of art throughout the city). Through their participation, students learned how art can be used to express their socio-political beliefs and the different ways in which artists can interact with their environment. You can listen to Imran Qureshi’s comments and view our students creating the Garden Within here.

Enriching art field trips

The Karachi Biennale is an innovative art forum, through which the work of almost 100 local and international artists was displayed at public locations throughout the city to bring art into the public sphere. 200 Students from KPS and SMB visited showcases at Frere Hall, Ibn-e-Qasim Park, and the Karachi Zoo, where they experienced installations, interactive performances, films, paintings and sculptures, all centered on the theme of ecology and the economic, social and cultural aspects of it. Students were guided by art researchers and curators who informed the students on how the artwork was created. One of the students’ favorites was an installation titled ‘Stitch a tree’ which features the work of expert women embroiders of the country, reflecting the distinct identity of Pakistani embroidery and the importance of these women’s contribution to cultural, economic and social life.

In addition to our budding artists, our art teachers from SMB took part in an assisted visit to Ibn-e-Qasim Park where they viewed over 50 installations concentrated on showcasing how the city has turned into an ecological disaster, and later took part in a lively discussion on art education and art in public spaces with educationists from 10 other institutions.

Pottery comes to KPS

Students began learning how to create and design pottery as part of the Pottery Club which started recently at KPS. 50 students from grades 6 to 10 learn from our expert pottery teacher during the club period held once a week. Stay tuned for the next report to find out an exciting project the young potters have been working on!

Students beat out private schools to win banner competition

Art students from KPS won the first prize in the banner competition organized by the Children’s Literature Festival, edging out their compatriots from private schools all over the city. The banner featured artwork reflecting their love for reading along with a charming wish: I pray heaven is a library! They later accepted their award from the Commissioner of Karachi at his office.

Research shows that teaching children art at school leads to improvement of students' academic, social, and emotional outcomes. A randomized Control Trial study of 42 elementary and middle schools with over 10,000 third- through eighth-grade students found that an increase in arts educational experiences for school children led to a significant improvement in standardized writing scores, increased in interest in school and college aspirations and a reduction in disciplinary infractions.

Please consider donating today to support arts education in government schools and nurture future creative thinkers.

 


 

Students at the Commissioner Karachi's office
Students at the Commissioner Karachi's office
Imran Qureshi gives students a talk about his art
Imran Qureshi gives students a talk about his art
Students at the Frere Hall installation
Students at the Frere Hall installation
Making the installation with Imran Qureshi
Making the installation with Imran Qureshi
Student artwork in mixed media
Student artwork in mixed media
With Alice Kettle's installation for Biennale 2019
With Alice Kettle's installation for Biennale 2019
Students at the wheel during pottery club
Students at the wheel during pottery club
SMB Art faculty during an assisted tour by artist
SMB Art faculty during an assisted tour by artist
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Zindagi Trust

Location: Karachi, Sindh - Pakistan
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @zindagitrust
Project Leader:
Sana Kazmi
Karachi, Sindh Pakistan
$277 raised of $25,000 goal
 
5 donations
$24,723 to go
Donate Now
lock
Donating through GlobalGiving is safe, secure, and easy with many payment options to choose from. View other ways to donate

Zindagi Trust has earned this recognition on GlobalGiving:
Add Project to Favorites

Help raise money!

Support this important cause by creating a personalized fundraising page.

Start a Fundraiser

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.