Education
 Pakistan
Project #14074

Continuing Malala's Dream - Educating Pakistan

by Fatima Memorial Hospital

Malala Yousafzai, youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner and Pakistani activist for female education, continues to inspire people around the world yet again. The high school junior is currently in second place in TIME’s People of the Year Poll, putting her ahead of world figures including Pope Francis and Barack Obama.  Her struggle for education for females has crossed transnational boundaries, making her a global symbol for promoting education and bringing the challenge of ‘education for all’ at the forefront in the global development agenda.

Recently, Malala and First Lady Michelle Obama launched the “62 Million Girls” campaign that is planned to ensure millions of girls worldwide that are not currently in school, receive the social and economic opportunities to receive an education. As we know, when these girls aren’t given a chance to realize their potential, the whole world loses out. In her speech at the launch, Malala spoke about the relationship between education and poverty, highlighting the fact that although we have the resources to prioritize education and combat the challenges that lack of education can bring with it, the fact remains that these resources are being used to fund activities that are not useful to society.

“It’s not that there is lack of money in this world,” she said. “We have billions and trillions of dollars, but where the money goes is military; it’s things that are useless and that are not useful to society”, the 18 year old Nobel Peace Prize winner said.

 A key part of this “62 Million Girls” campaign is to encourage and support community-led solutions to reduce barriers that prevent adolescent girls from completing their education.

The communities we work with under Nur Foundation, comprise of many such females who come from poor socio-economic backgrounds, who might not have the resources to afford quality education or the support to continue their education but have the hunger to learn and succeed in life. Our aim is to continue on with Malala’s dream and eliminate the barriers girls face in these communities and provide them with equal opportunities to make them active citizens. Over the past 19 years, we at Nur Foundation have seen many females become success stories, inspiring their families and the community to send their daughters and sisters to school as well. 

Formal and non-formal education enables conditional learning that carries positive effect in the life of a student. Education always affects mental development and thinking patterns and boosts confidence in students.

 

Nur Foundation (NF) schools have enabled 18,000 students of different peri-urban areas of Lahore Pakistan, to indulge in the life long experience of education and change the status of their lives from being poor and impoverished to become accomplished and successful. Out of 1850 current students enrolled in NF schools, we are pleased to honour Afia, a student who has worked hard, despite all the hardships in her life, to excel academically. 

 

Afia is a 16 years old girl who is living in Malik Pur village of Lahore. She has five sisters and no brother. She has always seen her father critically ill and bedridden leaving her mother to be the sole breadwinner for her 6 daughters and her sick husband. Afia and her two sisters are enrolled on a non-payment plan in the NF school and all three are brilliant students. Her elder sister has also completed her matriculation from the NF school and is also currently teaching there, helping her mother to bear household expenses.

 

There came moments in Afia’s life when she was about to dropout from school in order to assist her mother with everyday chores and earning expenses. She joined her elder sister in providing home tuition to students, while also simultaneously pursuing her studies.  She stands with determination and motivation for her education, with an unbeatable and high spirit, leaving no room for losing hope in achieving her dreams just like Malala Yousafzai.

 

Remarkably, in matriculation exams of 2014-2015 she scored 950 marks out of 1100 marks, a success which has been seldom achieved by any student of NF schools in their educational quest. The result day was a day of celebration, not only for Afia and her family, but also for the entire Malik Pur community, the teachers who taught her, the school management team and the project management team who are working day and night with dedication for the success of this program. As a valued contributor, this is a moment of pride for you as well. Without your donations, this achievement would not have been possible.

 

It was education that boosted Afia’s confidence, and it was your donations that helped her achieve her educational goals. Afia deserves to get higher education, and this dream can become possible with your continued support.

 

Many success stories are still waiting to happen. Donate today to make them possible! 

Nur Foundation (NF) with its’ mission to act as a catalyst of change to bring about socio- economic development of under-served communities, through an integrated approach to healthcare, education and economic empowerment runs several programmes in the health, education and social development sector. Under the Nur Community Outreach Programme (NCOP). NF runs schools in the outreach areas of Lahore. As of 2014, 18000 students from under-privileged backgrounds have completed their primary & secondary education. NUR Foundation School was also setup in the flood hit area of Haibat Mastui in District DG Khan and Muzaffargarh. Currently, 1850 students are studying in eight peri-urban areas of Lahore.

In the current state of the country, it is difficult to be hopeful. The story of Sadia is like light at the end of the tunnel. Sadia is currently studying in eighth grade at the NF school. Describing her socioeconomic status, Sadia said, “I am the eldest of seven children. My father is disabled and my mother is a domestic worker. It is extremely difficult for us to make ends meet. Sometimes we have to survive with eating just one meal a day. In the face of such circumstances, the fact that I am enrolled in eighth grade and not a victim of child labour is a miracle.” She continued, “This is a miracle that is called Nur Foundation, where I can quench my thirst to learn at no cost.”

Sadia  stated NF has made a difference in her life at the personal level. She reminisced the day when NF’s team of nutritionists came to the school and put up a free nutritional assessment camp. She reported “The team conducted nutritional screening and assessment. A lot of girls’ including me were found to be underweight and were given therapeutic diet counseling.” She continued to share that now she eats a healthier diet and advises her family to do so as well.

Sadia like other students is the vehicle to carry health promotional messages back home and the community. Nur Center for Research and Policy (NCRP), went one step further and conducted a health food fair on 24th February at the Fatima Memorial System. The entire purpose behind the health food fair was to promote healthy eating on low budget. Students from private schools and colleges with nutrition majors were invited to participate in a budget cooking competition. The students served the school lunches to students from the Nur Foundation schools and later distributed school lunch recipe books to mothers. Sadia shared her experience from the event in the following words, “It was a memorable day. We had such delicious school lunches made by the ‘Bajis’ and the best part was it was only worth Rs. 50/-. A team from Bunyad along with a gardener from the Fatima Memorial System educated us on how to plant seeds of different vegetables. As tokens we were all given packets of seeds of different vegetables of the season. I have planted those seeds in my courtyard at home and my family enjoys cooking and eating them.”

Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai

On 10th December, 2014 Malala became the first ever youngest person to be awarded the noble peace prize. The Pakistani born girl living in Swat, started with the small steps and a big dream to flourish the right of the children to get education, especially girls. But the burning ashes got the attention of the extremists who were not in favor of girls’ education. Despite the threats Malala continued to pursue her dream but on an unfortunate day the terror got with its evil wish and militants boarding her school shot her on the head along with two other girls. Luckily she survived the dramatic assault and made history. But the setback was not strong enough to shatter Malala’s dream in fact it provided her with the immense determination and fuel to work harder towards her goal. After she regained her health, she started to work with all her might to voice the right to get an education.

“One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world” (Malala Yousafzai)

She can be called as the voice of all those suppressed and deprived of their rights and an activist for female education. Her courageous actions were recognized globally at every forum where she gained endless support and were closely tracked by the world media. It’s been three years to the plight and Malala’s torch has given light to so many deserving torches.

“This award is for all those children who are voiceless, whose voices need to be heard,” she said. “I speak for them, and I stand up with them.” (Malala Yousafzai)

Female education is a global plea which is heard and supported globally. Yet a lot more than just support is required to help out all the Malala’s in our country and to provide them with the resources to fulfill their zeal and zest to acquire an education and to earn a place amongst the learned.

We at NUR Foundation and Fatima Memorial Hospital congratulate Malala for being the pride of the nation and pursuing what she risked her life for. Her achievement is unparalleled and unequaled. We follow her dream to educate all the girls and light the beacon of knowledge. We need all the support possible. Our organization is aiding with your assistance all those needy children who have the hunger to learn and succeed in order to be the part of the mainstream. But it is only possible with your generous support as each penny counts. So please donate and donate to educate!   

“So let us wage a struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism” (Malala Yousafzai)

Education is the first and foremost right of every human being. It is the most powerful tool an individual can have which can reap social & moral benefits for the society. Then why the most fundamental brick of a society’s is being deprived of it? Why 2 out of 5 girls in the third world countries are being destitute of their educational rights? According to the official stats, there are 160,000 schools in Pakistan out of which only 40,000 are catering girls. The NER (net enrollment rate) of Pakistan is 68% and GPI (gender parity index) 0.76 indicates that the ones who are not enrolled are mostly girls. The GEEI (gender equality education index) of Pakistan is only 0.20 which is lowest in the region.

Still in many countries focusing on Asia and Central Asia, girls are being deprived of their basic educational rights because of safety, financial and cultural barriers. Moreover if girls are attending schools their results are not satisfactory because of low motivation level or any other factor which holds them from attaining good quality learning outcomes.

Girl’s education has enormous benefits such as; an educated girl will utilize her abilities in the field of her expertise. She will work to earn and play her role in providing for her family which will ultimately raise their living standards and her role in contributing to GDP. Her education can delay her marriage and she is more likely to educate her children because she will be aware of educational importance. Another advantage can be that with the age the fertility rate drops and the awareness level about family planning increases consequently they will bear fewer children and live a healthy family life.

It is also important for an individual’s own development as every person carries a distinct personality but unanimous morals and values are carried out by the society, education will make the person more resilient and understanding to walk with different cultures and societies as our world is a global village and Pakistan is yet counted in the third world countries therefore, it is our responsibility to learn and to educate everyone, girls are given more emphasis because they are the one most ignored of this right.

We at Fatima Memorial Hospital and Nur Foundation are trying to make the utmost efforts possible, taking forward Malala’s dream, striving and educating as many girls we can. Our major fraction of focus is on providing complete financial relaxations to the Parents who are not able to pay their fees and all the accessories required by the students such as books, uniforms etc. each and every single effort counts, your support through us can unbolt such potentials that we cannot imagine. It’s a treasure, unexplored. Help us and make generous donation. Be the part of the noble endeavor.  Be a catalyst of change, and play your role in educating a girl child.

References:

http://www.unesco.org/education/efa/know_sharing/grassroots_stories/pakistan_2.shtm
EFA Global Monitoring Report: Will We Make it? Paris: UNESCO
Community commitments put girls in schools in rural Pakistan. http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/pakistan_13113.html
Stipend Programmes Rewarded with Success. http://go.worldbank.org/TXQ99GEZ60

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Organization Information

Fatima Memorial Hospital

Location: Lahore, Punjab - Pakistan
Website: http:/​/​www.fmsystem.org
Project Leader:
Haroon Ihsan
Lahore, Punjab Pakistan