Send 50 Pakistani child workers to high school

by Zindagi Trust
Usman at school
Usman at school

Usman is a boy who grew up in the slums of Kot Lakhpat, Lahore. He finished an accelerated course of primary education at Zindagi Trust's Paid to Learn School on Peco Road, part of our network of non-formal primary schools in Lahore. He is now studying at Bab-e-Safa School, a mainstream private secondary school, thanks to our Secondary School Sponsorship Program. He is balancing quite a few challenges - early school timings, a heavy study workload, a job his family depends on, a wide range of extracurricular activities, and finally, building a good rapport with his teachers and classmates.

Usman was not like other Paid to Learn scholarship winners. Doing well in academics did not come naturally to him. He had to work very hard to be consistent in his studies but he managed to get the required grades in his non-formal primary education course to qualify for secondary school sponsorship - a huge achievement for him. This led to him being placed in a mainstream secondary school, where his education was completely financed by the trust.

Switching from non-formal schooling to formal schooling is a challenge for the most gifted academic student. It is a unique learning experience, one which the average student never goes through. For Usman, it was doubly hard because he always had a healthy interest in extra-curriculars as well as his work. He loves playing cricket, excelling at batting and fielding. He is very serious about fitness and trains hard every day with a rigorous exercise routine. Finally, he works as an assistant cook at a street fast food joint every evening to support his family with a $12 monthly income.

Now in the 6th grade, he has quickly adapted himself to school life. His class teacher has extended her academic support to him to be in line with the class work. Usman is enormously grateful to all our donors like yourself who make it possible for us to transform the lives of Pakistan's poorest children through education. Please consider making a donation to help us put more students like Usman in secondary school!

Usman at work
Usman at work


In class
In class

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.

with friends
with friends
working at the book shop
working at the book shop


At work
At work

It's unusual to hear a fresh teenager wax eloquent about the value of taking pride in one's work. Hasnat is an unusal boy. He grew up in a crowded household of six, one he has been supporting since he turned six by helping out at his father's tailoring shop. He was recruited by Zindagi Trust to join an afternoon school for working children, where he finished his primary education in two years near the top of his class and thus qualified for our secondary school sponsorship program.

Hasnat is now enrolled in a private secondary school at Peco Road, Lahore and is passionate about continuing his studies. He wants to grow up to be famous as a cricketer and a teacher. His favourite subject is science and he finds his father's tailoring work to be a great exercise in applying science.

"Cutting and tailoring is all about science; measuring, stitching and giving shape to wearing are skills mastered by exploring science."

Now fourteen, Hasnat has learned how to cut and stitch men's suits and is proud of his father’s profession. In addition to his career goals in the fields of cricket and teaching, he also has a desire to perfect his tailoring work to the level of a "Master" - or head tailor - like his father.

He leaves us with a great message to all his friends and classmates: "Take pride in your work and show to the world your potential."

Please consider making a donation to our program to help us continue supporting the secondary education of promising young children like Hasnat.

At school
At school


Danial at work
Danial at work

Danial is an eight-grade student at Bab-e-Safa Grammar, a private school in Lahore, Pakistan's second-largest city. He shows up at school early and eager every day, neatly turned out in the navy blue sweater and tie that are part of his private school uniform. He does well in school and is a passionate student. 


There is not much else about him that is similar to his classmates. He grew up watching his father working two jobs - as a auto-mechanic and a driver - and struggling to make ends meet to support Danial, his brother and two sisters. Danial worked with his father as an assistant, helping to repair the engines of motorbikes so they could collectively make up to 10,000 rupees a month. This experience planted in him the seed of inquisitiveness and an interest in becoming in engineer but school was still a distant dream.


Luckily, our field workers found him and he was recruited to study at one of our Lahore Paid to Learn schools, enrolling in an afternoon programme specially designed for children who work. This is where he realised that he had an innate drive to learn and developed a commitment to studying hard. 


By excelling in the accelerated two-year primary education programme and graduating near the top of his class, he qualified for Secondary School Sponsorship, through which we fund the continuing education of our top graduates through matriculation in a mainstream private school. 


It has now been two years since Danial was placed in the sixth grade at Bab-e-Safa Grammar School. Competing with children who have been studying in a formal school set-up since kindergarten was not easy but Danial's passion to become an engineer pulled him through. 


Danial says he is struggling to make his journey beyond the possible with a hope that at the end all things would be possible. We at Zindagi Trust believe that hard work always pays off and for us Danial's is already a great success story. We wish him all the best for the future and hope that donors like you would continue to help us support the continuing education of these bright young minds.

Danial in school
Danial in school


Zubair's story

Zubair is one of the best students at Al-Huda Education System, one of the upcoming private schools in Rawalpindi, in the heart of urban Pakistan. He goes to school every day, shows up to class on time in his neat, bright school uniform. This doesn't sound like a big deal to most, but for Zubair it is an unbelievable transformation.

Zubair grew up in a family of scavengers and spent most of his early childhood rummaging through garbage for materials he could sell at a junk shop. This was his only means of earning income - everyone in his family did the same. Life was tough. His house did not have clean running water and they had to walk three kilometres to fetch water. Working in the garbage all day, there was no time or awareness to make cleanliness or hygiene a priority.

Six years ago, his life took a turn for the better. He was recruited by Zindagi Trust to study in one of our primary schools for child workers. He finished an accelerated, non-formal course in primary education over the course of two years, learning basic literacy and numeracy, but also some essential life skills that come from being enrolled in a school setting. Within a year, he stopped going to garbage dumps and instead started collecting used cartons, hardboard wrappers and empty tins from outside bakeries and general stores. He credits his teachers at Zindagi Trust for making him realise the importance of cleanliness and hygiene.

Today, his family follows his example and works in recycling and he is no longer called a kabari, a somewhat derogatory term for scavengers. Zubair has made it a point to spread what he learns among his family members, and they have adopted other habits of hygiene, such as taking daily showers, washing their hands before meals, etc so that they stay healthy and fit for their long days of work. 

After graduating from our primary education course at the top of his class three years ago, he was placed in a good private school where he has done well and now reached the 8th grade. Despite being a top position holder, he does not have any definite high aims in life as yet, but is confident that his hard work will be rewarded.  

Zubair's dream of continuing education has been made possible through Zindagi Trust's program to sponsor the secondary education of its best primary school graduates, which in turn is sponsored by generous donors like yourself. Zubair is thankful to Zindagi Trust and its donors for making a difference in their lives. 

A big THANK YOU to all our supporters and donors for enabling us to educate the underprivileged, working children of Pakistan. We hope to continue receiving your support in the coming months to find more stars like Zubair. Here is a video of Zubair telling his story in his own words.



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Organization Information

Zindagi Trust

Location: Karachi, Sindh - Pakistan
Website: http:/​/​
Zindagi Trust
Project Leader:
Abdul Haque
Karachi, Sindh Pakistan

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