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.