A big thank you to our supporters for making our work with hundreds of fascinating children possible! We've been busy with some fun activities since our last update in November: letter-writing competitions, environmental awareness week, the Design for Change Pakistan competition (which most of this update is about), national days commemorating the nation's forefathers, Iqbal and Jinnah. We also introduced health insurance for our students and ended the year with a results and awards day for the students and the teachers. We hope you enjoy the latest highlights from our schools:
Design for Change Pakistan
In November, we told you about our students entering the Design for Change Pakistan contest - a competition of social change imagined and effected by children across the country. The results are out and the stars from the street have dazzled again.
Students from 16 of our schools for child workers brainstormed and submitted their ideas to transform their communities. 35 winners were selected from thousands of entries from across Pakistan and students from 3 of our schools in Karachi's urban slums won in multiple categories for these projects:
Kam Umri Mai Shaadi Ki Rok Tham (Stop Child Marriages)
Disturbed by early marriages in their community, where children are forced into early marriages, students at Zindagi Trust Drigh Road, Karachi decided to approach and talk to parents yielding to this practice. By highlighting the damaging effects of early marriages not only to these parents but also to the local village council, the students convinced them to end the practice child marriages and encourage everyone in their community to wait till a more mature age to get married. This project won in the Boldest Idea category.
Taleem ki Ehmiat (The Importance of Education)
Students from Zindagi Trust’s school in Manzoor Colony, Karachi were upset with poor families like their own forcing children to work instead of sending them to school. They took on the challenging of convincing the parents of one child from their neighbourhood to send him or her to school.
These children themselves work for most of the day, so they understood the context of families who chose work over school for their children. They scoped the streets for children like themselves, convinced them to attend school and then encouraged them to bring their parents to the school to meet the teachers. A detailed discussion with the parents concluded with a major breakthrough, and the team was successful in enrolling their first friend from the street, Ali, into school on the first day. This
project was selected as one of the top 5 in the Quickest Impact
Saaf Paani-Sehatmand Zindagi (Clean Water - Healthy Life)
Having recently learned that water-borne diseases were the major reason behind the high absenteeism rate at their school, students from Zindagi Trust Zia Colony School, Karachi
came together to tackle the problem of unclean and unsafe drinking water in their neighbourhood. A door-to-door campaign followed to awaken the neighbourhood to the health hazards of consuming the unclean water currently being supplied to them. The students educated each household about the basics of boiling water and readying it for consumption. This
project won in the Maximum Potential for Lasting Change
More than 5000 schools participated in the competition, which aspires to foster a new generation of hopeful Pakistanis who can be change-makers and future leaders of our country. The top projects were also featured in a traveling exhibition in January chronicling 2011’s winning stories of change. Our students were excited to present their work alongside students from 35 different schools whose winning stories of change were selected from 7000 entries from all over Pakistan. We hope our children continue to dream big! Thanks to Syed Iqbal Ahmed, Education Coordinator and Jahanara Shiraz, Head of Academics for their input on this effort.
Other goings on at our schools:
- Health Insurance was provided to the students and teachers of our schools in partnership with a social enterprise called Naya Jeevan, and an interactive workshop for both parents and teachers was held to educate them on how to use their insurance cards, etc.
- An Environmental Awareness Week was held across all our schools to inculcate environmental awareness in our young students who spend most of their days on the street. Colour Day was one of the events of this week where children were brought close to nature by exploring the colours in their environment
- Iqbal Day was celebrated by the children by reciting his poetry, performing tableus on his work and remembering his contributions to the founding of Pakistan.
- Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of the nation, was celebrated on his birthday on the 25th of December.
- Results and Awards day was held to mark the end of the term where top-performing students, teachers and schools were rewarded and the academic calendar for the next term was planned.
- Our students from the Karachi region won a special prize in a nationwide letter-writing competition on dreams and aspirations. We were psyched for them because they were the youngest contestants in the contest which was open to all ages.
Get in Touch!
Please let us know what you thought of our programmes. We would love to hear your feedback about more events and activities that we can organize at our school, so if you have an idea about something our children would enjoy, please write to us - leave a comment here, shoot us an email, or catch us on Facebook or twitter! Thank you for reading and have a lovely day.