Making a Difference


SEF: Supporting Education

2013

The 3 schools Sindh Rangers Girls Primary School (145 girls), M. Yousif High School (188 boys, 18 girls) and Miyam M. Yousif School (161 boys, 32 girls) in villages Panat, Malook ki Dhaniand Saddan respectively were observed....

Making the Dream a Reality

2013

Contrary to what the privileged and the lucky may believe, life may not be a bed of roses for everyone. There are those who have had to face hardships at every turn, fighting obstacles and etching their will and existence....

A Lifesaver

2012

Ambreen has never been to school. Having given up nearly all hope by now of ever receiving education, she was delighted to learn about the women literacy center run by Sindh Education Foundation via its Women Literacy...

Remembering Dr. Nabi Bux Baloch

2011

Local wisdom enables lifelong learning in society. The Sindh Education Foundation has always placed great emphasis on indigenous knowledge and promotes learning from local culture, ideas and people in order to make...

Young Stars

2010

Sherhshah, located to the south east of Karachi, is an industrial hub and home to many communities and settlers from other parts of the country. Being an industry center, the area provides employment opportunities for young...

Leaving a Legacy

2010

Prof. Asma Kazmi was amongst the pioneer group of adopters who partnered with the Sindh Education Foundation's Adopt-a-School Program to revitalize the public schools sector. After a prolonged illness, Prof. Kazmi passed away...

Nadia's Determination

2009

Inclusive education is based on the right of all learners to a quality education that meets basic learning needs and enriches lives. This simply means that no school or institute can discriminate against learners with disabilities...

Story Of Women Empowerment

2005

Sajida Parveen has been teaching at the Women Literacy and Empowerment Program, (WLEP) center in Rehri Mayana Goth, a small fishing community situated 17 km from Korangi, with little or no access to city transport...

Kiran-A Ray Of Light

2005

The 70,000 population of Hijrat Colony is pre-dominantly conservative and religious who believe that traditions and customs constitute the core components of life. The community is particular about their values and is....

Haven of Hopes and Dreams

2005

Zulekha's day begins at 7 am sharp. She walks to the school, which is some 15 minutes away from her home, where she has been teaching for the past 7 months. As a teacher at the Bulandi Community Supported School...

Children Of Neelum Colony

2004

Some 5 feet away from 26th Commercial Street, Defence Phase V Karachi, exists Neelam Colony, a kachhi abadi. Situated in this colony is the Government Boys Primary School, one of the public sector schools adopted...

A Change is Coming

2012

The world is in a constant flux. Many things change, some for the better but some also for the worse. Things deteriorate, issues arise, situations worsen and only through a conscious effort, a dedicated and committed endeavor...

Youthful Ambitions

2011

Even at such a young age, the intensity written clearly on Ayesha's face cannot be denied. Her striking brown eyes and solemn expression belay a determination to strive and excel at the task set in front of her."Education is the way of life,"...

Whence the darkness

2011

As part of SEF's PPRS initiative, one institution has become the shining beacon of hope that provides pre-primary education to 181 children today in Kambar Shahdad Kot.
Darkness possessed Kambar...

United We Stand

2011

A single person with noble ambitions and enough determination can achieve much, but acts that transform lives and shape futures come to pass when the individual possesses the support of his fellow man, his community...

Giving Back to the Community

2011

Out in the remote areas surrounding village Wazir Sangi in Taluka Faiz Ganj, one sees little else other than big, empty fields and a few people. After a long trek through a seemingly scarce travelled dirt road amidst the fields of rural Sindh...

Beyond the Call of Duty

2011

We all know it is the people whose commitment and dedication fuels an ideal, establishes an organization and drives an initiative. Every person has to do his or her part for the whole to work as it is envisioned to...

Bakhtawar's Dedication

2010

Self belief is the key virtue of successful life which helps overcome all hardships in life and reaching the desired destination. Bakhtawar, a local of Khando Khan Bozdar village is a true example of courage and determination...

The Gate Keeper

2010

This is the inspiring story of a gatekeeper turned entrepreneur, who had the vision to empower his community through education. Imam Bux, chairperson of CSS Bulandi School and a resident of Mehmood Jamote Union Council...

Ripples in a Pond

2010

The small ripple created when the pebble hits the water can be a wave by the time it reaches the opposite shore. Thus is Safia's struggle for reform.
Safia and her endeavors for education are a matter of pride for her family...

Revitalizing Education

2010

Shaheed Waris Fellowship School, a partner school of Sindh Education Foundation had fallen prey to what plagues most of the schools in rural Sindh. There was an alarming increase in the drop out rate of the students...

Grassroots PECs Network

2010

In 2001, the SEF initiated 100 schools as part of the Fellowship School Program that aimed primarily to increase female participation in education. Community partnerships were a key thrust for ensuring establishment...

A Community Hero

2010

One woman from an impoverished locality in suburbs of Karachi brought an inspirational change in her living conditions thanks to a lot of hard work and a little help from the SEF's Women's Literacy & Empowerment...

Changing Mindsets

2010

The mission of Sindh Education Foundation is not just to educate the less privileged of Sindh, its mission is to enrich the lives of the people of Sindh by empowering them with education. Since 1998, SEF has been actively...

Tomorrow's Leaders

2010

Education is foremost and vital for the establishment of democratic system in any country. Education nurtures thdemocratic mind, which possesses the magnanimity and intellect needed to grasp concepts such as liberty, equality...

Casting Away the Resentment

2010

While it is human nature to become conditioned to the surroundings, sensitivity is the key to change. It is noble to aspire to bring changes in the lives of others, especially through education. Mr. Sawood Ahmed is one such man...

Never Giving Up

2009

This is the story of Shaheen, a remarkable woman, who is a source of inspiration to the Matiari Village community. Shaheen has been the Principal at a fellowship school in district Matiari for over ten years. She has faced social...

From Students to Teachers

2009

Afshan and Mehnaz are two extraordinary individuals who are striving to make a difference in their tiny village of Kunb Daroon, situated on the outskirts of Tando Adam, District Sanghar. In just five years, these girls have journeyed...

Teachers & Doctors of Tomorrow

2004

SEF's Fellowship Schools Program reaches out to the far-flung areas of Pakistan's southern province of Sindh. Inside the classroom of one of these schools, children are excited about their future plans. "I want to be a teacher...

Sher Shah's Hope

2004

Sher Shah, located in the industrial hub of Karachi, hosts a majority that works in the city's recycling industry and as daily wage labor, is paid the bare minimum to make a living. Standing tall amongst the various mechanic shops...

Children Of Neelum Colony Speak Out

2004

Some 5 feet away from 26th Commercial Street, Defence Phase V Karachi, exists Neelam Colony, a kachhi abadi. Situated in this colony is the Government Boys Primary School, one of the public sector schools adopted under SEF's Adopt-A-School Program. The school has been in existence since November 2000, adopted by Ms. Shagufta Dada, a sure footed, no nonsense, confident woman, battling with the system to run the school efficiently. However, today her health does not permit her to be present on her usual seat and her friend, Mrs. Farkhunda Ahmed, substitutes in place of her till her condition improves.

"Shagufta has done a fantastic job and her efforts in establishing the school in this kachi abadi are producing results. Parents are willing to send their children to school so that they can get the best education," comments Mrs. Ahmed Currently, the school holds classes till the 7th grade but future expansion plans aim to increase classes till the 10th grade. Despite the fact that the situation has improved from what existed 5 years back, problems have become an established norm. The administration is concerned about the hygiene conditions in which the students have to attend classes. Moreover, poverty is rampant because of which many families migrate to places where they can earn a better livelihood. Yet despite these issues, enrolment has increased. The school is considered as a barometer against which the standard of other schools is measured. As a result parents are keen on sending their children to the school as it offers unmatched quality education in the vicinity. The primary reason for enrolment has been the improvement in teaching methodology whereby classroom activities have been made interesting and the learning process creative and fun. In addition to this computer classes are being offered and a number of students have developed computer skills, some of them even becoming increasingly proficient with different software and spreadsheets. Currently the administration is planning on introducing vocational training for students so that they learn and enhance on indigenous skills as carpentry, masonry, tailoring and the like.

On the student front, the pupils are extremely satisfied with the education that is being provided to them. In fact these little ones hope that their knowledge will empower them to create a difference in the environment in which they reside and result in positive changes for their communities. "I want to change the environment around us and encourage the residents of this area to live a clean life. We want to make this a beautiful place," replied a conscientious 5th grader. "I know what is right and wrong. I wear clean clothes, brush my teeth and take care of my hygiene", responded another when asked the difference between a child who goes to schools and one who does not. According to one boy "going to school" opened opportunities towards a better tomorrow. The children nurtured in this school have dreams and talking to these sharp 11 year olds, one realizes how these are not very different from ours. Behind the world of 26th Commercial Street, reside these children of the world, hoping, watching every day go by, in search of a better tomorrow.

Haven of Hopes and Dreams

2005

Zulekha's day begins at 7 am sharp. She walks to the school, which is some 15 minutes away from her home, where she has been teaching for the past 7 months. As a teacher at the Bulandi Community Supported School she confesses that teaching has proven to be a deeply enriching and satisfying experience.

The little girls who attend this school are avid learners and teachers have little, if any, complaints related to their ability to grasp and understand subjects. Despite the fact that only a handful of residents have received formal primary education the residents are supportive in sending their girls to school. Being pre-dominantly an agri-based community, with a few villagers employed in the nearby commercial hub, Memon Goth, the area has been hit by poverty. The hope for a better tomorrow for their children, one that is different than their present, is the primary reason why the villagers are promoting education and sending their children to Bulandi.

Each day begins by repeating what was taught the previous day and students discuss in class the different activities that take place at home. "On many occasions students have approached teachers for advice related to household issues and problems and this demonstration of faith boosts the teachers' confidence because it shows that the students value our opinion," explained Zulekha, her back to a wall covered with artwork created by the children. To ensure the school is playing its role teachers are encouraged to make frequent visits to the student's houses. This exercise helps in determining the strengths and weaknesses in the prevailing education system being practiced by the school. Currently, there are a total of 150 children in this village of which 85 are attending school and this ratio is expected to increase with time.

"I think the children living in villages have heightened awareness and knowledge to those living in cities. It is often assumed that the former are simple minded, which is untrue. These girls and boys respect their elders and value the education that they are being provided with. The real test is when you gain respect by respecting others and these children have learned this value at a relatively tender age," commented one of the teachers. On entering the school a spirit of learning radiates from the thatched walls. From a distance the voices of little girls and boys can be heard, the melody sweet to the ears. Behind the walls of this building is a place that serves as a haven for the children of this small community and a place that gives hope of better things to come.

Kiran-A Ray Of Light

2005

The 70,000 population of Hijrat Colony is pre-dominantly conservative and religious who believe that traditions and customs constitute the core components of life. The community is particular about their values and is apprehensive in permitting young girls to step out of the house and gaining education. A common fear amongst parents is that once the girl child becomes educated, she will challenge societal norms. Modern education is considered by them to be the direct cause of moral degradation.

Rukhsana a teacher at one of the schools of the Home Schools Program, however, has been able to penetrate through these perceptions and convince many families on sending their young girls to her school. "Kiran Home School", synonymous with a ray of light projecting hope, peace and serenity, is the name of her one room home sanctuary. It has only been a few weeks since the school has been operating and the response Rukhsana has received from the localities has been phenomenal.

"Parents respond to my calls and are supportive of the entire process. I encourage them to participate in the child's education by taking interest in the work in their homework and asking them about what they do at school" she states. The young teacher must be of 20 some years, but her wisdom is beyond her age. Despite the fact that Rukhsana suffers from a minor ailment, i.e. she is crippled from one leg and moves around with the support of crutches, nothing wears down her passion towards her cause. Her firm resolve and deep commitment in providing these little ones an education are the reasons as to why she has been able to win the hearts of the inhabitants of Hijrat Colony. Parents trust her, children respect her and within weeks the enrolment of students in her school have reached 40.

"I turned away two parents in the morning because there is no space available for any new entrants." Despite the conservative environment of her community, Rukhsana was fortunate to have a family that provided her an education. She was raised with the belief that knowledge had insurmountable strength to change any mindset and belief system. "My father's encouragement is responsible for my confidence and success. He taught me that the first step towards a positive change is changing my attitude and gain education."

Rukhsana's little scholars are sharp, intelligent and quick. These 5-6 year olds begin their day singing songs and reciting Urdu poetry. Discipline is what gets the class together and the teachers wish is their command.

"I want these children to not only become literate, but in fact value their environment, respect elders, understand differences and live with them." Rukhsana's broad based vision portrays that her school will surely serve as a ray of light for this community.

Sajida's Story Of Women Empowerment

2005

Sajida Parveen has been teaching at the Women Literacy and Empowerment Program, (WLEP) center in Rehri Mayana Goth, a small fishing community situated 17 km from Korangi, with little or no access to city transport.

The center caters to adult learners and aims to provide an avenue where local women can gain easy access to education. Sajida claims teaching older women is different than her morning job teaching primary grade level. "Teaching children is comparatively easier than women because children have fewer responsibilities and thus fewer things to concentrate on" She says "These women on the other hand have responsibilities of a greater magnitude. Lesson planning has to be formulated in such a way that the women are able to make the most of the time they come to the center."

The village is isolated from the main city and because of the limited exposure, the village community was apprehensive in opening up to the concept of education let alone adult learning. The center was initially received with pessimism and many villagers scoffed at the thought and expressed disapproval to those who agreed to the idea. Education was associated with defying traditions that had been carried forward for generations. The idea of receiving adult education was unthinkable as common perception was that education is received at a young age. However, with the passage of time the opposition deteriorated and people's perception took a 180 degree turn.

"An interesting outcome from this centre has been the harmony propagated amongst a previously divided community." shares Sajida "As the center became functional the community started meeting more often as women from all areas attended lessons. Linkages started taking shape and with time the women developed strong ties. The prejudice and biases were replaced by friendships and strong communal feelings."

The center also disseminates knowledge regarding health and hygiene and has been able to increase learners' knowledge in the matter. Previously, diseases such as cholera and malaria were rampant and the villagers did not take proper hygienic measures before the center came into being in Rehri Mayana Goth. With the establishment of the WLEC, the community members have become better informed about the consequences of living in unsanitary conditions and worked towards increasing cleanliness and reducing disease.

"The role of women at home has increased significantly and families are more receptive to suggestions made by the WLEC learners, which means a greater say in a number of household decisions." Sajida proudly states "The center has proven to be a pillar of society and won the respect of many residents. It has shone light on the respect that should be awarded to all women and their importance in the functioning of the community."

A Change is Coming

2012

The world is in a constant flux. Many things change, some for the better but some also for the worse. Things deteriorate, issues arise, situations worsen and only through a conscious effort, a dedicated and committed endeavor can a positive change be brought about to counter the problems. That is why students of 1,500 schools from across Pakistan became the protagonists in more than 200 stories and waged war against some of the country's basic problems such as unclean water, lack of personal hygiene, traffic violation, beggary, child labour and problems in the education system under the Design for Change Program (DFC).

The core concept behind Design for Change is to address the problems children feel impact their lives the most and have them take charge in solving them. This idea was first conceived and successfully implemented in India and now reaches 33 countries and over 300,000 schools inspiring hundreds of thousands of children, their teachers and parents to find solutions to the most challenging problems across the planet.

The response from the schools in Pakistan has been immense and proved very encouraging to the people of DFC. The Beaconhouse schools, Lahore Grammar School, Behbud Schools, Zindagi Trust Schools as well as educational institutes under the Sindh Education Foundation were some of the organizations who registered with DFC-Pakistan and participated in the global competition in 2011. DFC-Pakistan's core team member and global partner Nida Alavi, who is running the project in Pakistan with the help of five other members, stated that she was overwhelmed by the support and response she received.

DFC approached schools in Pakistan to come up with teams of five children, who were given "how-to" kits. Each team was asked to come up with one idea on how to tackle a problem in their community. With the help of a mentor, these five students had to identify a real problem and implement a solution to the problem within one week. The participating teams were asked to approach the project in four stages: "Feel, Imagine, Do and Share". By feeling out a problem, imagining possible solutions, doing what they could to make a change and sharing their stories with the rest of the world, students would become part of an international movement to bring about positive changes in their communities. The philosophy behind it was to give children the power to decide for themselves, the things that they do not like in their surroundings and work towards changing them into something they saw as right.

One such team hailed from the Child Development Center Shershah under SEF's Child Labor Education Program. The CDC Shift 1 which comprised of children from 13 to17 years of age started their 'Kitabon ki Murammat' project. Aware of the immense wastage of resources caused by people not taking care of old books and instead choosing to buy new books as replacements, the children took on the challenge of repairing their own books to make them new once again. Thus ensued the collection of all the books needing attention followed by gluing, sewing, rebinding, reassembling pages and making new covers. Stacks of 'refurbished' books were then organized and kept in their rightful places, rekindling interest in this ongoing resource for the students and a commitment to take better care of books in the future.

This innovative initiative of the children of CDC garnered them the 'Quickest Impact' award amongst the 35 prizes disbursed under the DFC program. On November 29th, 2011 the winning participants of CDC were also invited in the morning show on HUM TV to be interviewed about their novel idea and also the challenges they felt confronted the society. Truly a great achievement and a moment of honor for the hard working children of Sher Shah.

This is a prime example of how when people decide to bring about a positive change, there is little that can stand in their way. The Design for Change program had faith in the world's youth and saw it just rewarded through creative ideas for change from young minds all across the world. We hope to see this trend continue and bring about many changes towards the good in the future.

Leaving a Legacy

2010

Prof. Asma Kazmi was amongst the pioneer group of adopters who partnered with the Sindh Education Foundation's Adopt-a-School Program to revitalize the public schools sector. After a prolonged illness, Prof. Kazmi passed away on 2nd July 2010 in a hospital in New York, leaving behind years of legacy and patronage that transformed two run-down and dysfunctional schools to vibrant learning spaces.

During August 1997 Prof. Kazmi along with a group of likeminded group of teachers of St. Joseph's College (referred to as the AK Group) adopted two public schools in Karachi namely: Government Girls Primary School Shireen Jinnah Colony and Government Boys Lower Secondary School Ack Ack.

Mrs. Kazmi was a notable educationists and with her 32 years long professional experience in the field of education (she taught at St. Josephs College for Women Geography Department) she worked relentlessly and managed all the administrative and educational affairs of the schools. She took up inevitable challenges besetting government schools, such as fluctuating enrollment, high absenteeism, irregular teachers' attendance, staff shortage, non-availability of classroom furniture and disciplinary issues. It took an extensive series of efforts to turn around the schools through infrastructure upliftment including cementing of corridors, flooring of toilets, installation of doors, windows and grills, electrical fittings, cabling and wiring, etc., whitewash, provision of classroom furniture including desks and chairs, giving out students incentives, organizing school events and teachers training. Special periods in the timetable were introduced for Library, Physical Education, Art and Hand work and General Knowledge and were made mandatory for all students. The National Book Foundation was approached and books were acquired for the campus library which was housed in two rooms constructed especially for this purpose. Discipline was strictly observed and emphasis was laid on inculcating social values amongst children.

Prof. Kazmi was a peoples' person who worked amicably with school teachers, principals and members of parent management bodies. Her personal relationship with students needs special mention as she was a source of great motivation to them. Students' health and nutrition concerns were her top priority and she went an extra mile to arrange for provisions for the children. Through her efforts she invited sponsors for supplying milk to children twice a week for the length of her association with the schools. Eye camps were also arranged and children received free check-ups and prescriptions. Special attention was also paid for maintaining high hygiene standards. Students and teachers regularly participated in cleanliness drives to clean out the campus including the playground and corridors.

Owing to her ailment, Mrs. Kazmi could not continue with her work with the public schools, and in 2008 the schools were adopted by the Delta Group of Education. The SEF pays tribute to Prof. Asma Kazmi for her contribution to improve education for children in Sindh. In her passing away, the Foundation has indeed lost a friend and support.

Beyond the Call of Duty

2011

We all know it is the people whose commitment and dedication fuels an ideal, establishes an organization and drives an initiative. Every person has to do his or her part for the whole to work as it is envisioned to. But it is when someone goes above and beyond what is required of them, goes that extra mile when needed, that the enterprise really begins to shine. And that is exactly what the people involved in the Women's Learning and Empowerment Program have been striving to do.

Women's Learning and Empowerment Program (WLEP) was established in June 2000. It began as a contract from the Royal Netherlands Embassy and subsequently became one of the SEF's core initiatives. The WLEP interventions are presently undertaken across 23 Women Literacy and Empowerment Centers (WLECs) in Sehwan, Malir and Tando AllahYar districts benefiting 781 women learners.

It is by virtue of the program that Syeda Khurshid and her fellow teachers, through their hard work and sheer determination, have been making a difference in the lives of others. Syeda Khurshid has been working with WLEP since 2001. The 'Haji Pir center' was initiated in June 2001 which she ran diligently for 5 years. During this time she has taught around 60 learners. It is under her supervision that 3 learners took admission in schools and 11 got jobs in factories. Even though the center provides only primary education, Syeda Khurshid and her colleagues often teach women beyond the primary level. This is because the students invariably form special attachments with the teachers and do not feel comfortable moving on to a new place. In such cases the instructors volunteer to guide them through the Sindh text board curriculum. A big part of the credit for the progress and achievement the centers have experienced goes to the educators.

It was also Syeda Khurshid who conducted a survey in Kohi Goth and observed an alarming lack of educational facilities for women who wanted to learn in the area. Having discovered this, she approached Prof. Anita Ghulam Ali, MD, SEF for the shift of the center from Haji Pir to Kohi Goth and her request was approved. The issue of where exactly to place the center was soon resolved by the selfless act of Dr. Shershah and Dr. Tipu Sultan, who graciously offered accommodations at their 'Fistula Hospital'.

Thus to further its aim of helping women, a center was initiated in Kohi Goth on the 1st of February 2006 inside the 'Fistula hospital', founded by Dr. Shershah and Dr. Tipu Sultan. The hospital has provided WLEP with a few rooms, which have been constructed as classrooms for the Nursing Training Center classes to be held in the morning. Once these classes are over, the rooms are provided to the WLEP teacher who then conducts learning sessions for women. The classrooms are well equipped with tablet chairs, white boards and soft boards. The women in Kohi Goth now have somewhere to go to in regards to acquiring an education and empowering themselves.

It is through the commitment of people like Syeda Khurshid and facilitation of professionals like Dr. Sher Shah and Dr. Tipu Sultan that programs such as WLEP succeed in improving and benefiting marginalized communities. Their selfless dedication to the cause of women learning and empowerment has seen a lot of women better their lives in more ways than one and will continue to do so for many more women to come.

Casting Away the Resentment

2010

While it is human nature to become conditioned to the surroundings, sensitivity is the key to change. It is noble to aspire to bring changes in the lives of others, especially through education. Mr. Sawood Ahmed is one such man who bent over backwards to make a difference in the lives of four children laboring in a garage.

Shershah, which is the industrial hub of Karachi, houses many underprivileged families where often, young children have to enter the labor market to make both ends meet for their families. Ahmed has been living in Karachi for 20 years with his family and works as a motor mechanic in Shershah. While Ahmed found his feet in the profession to feed his family, he nevertheless, could not let go of the resentment for not having the opportunity to acquire education. He was a witness to the dilemma of a life without education where even simple matters seem to become intricate and troublesome. He could see that the events in his life were going to repeat for many children at his workplace as they were deprived of their basic right to education because of poverty. No NGO had come to his rescue and waiting for a Messiah for these children may prove to be an exercise of futility.

Ahmed decided to work to identify opportunities for education of the young employed children. It was during a community mobilization activity that Ahmed found out about the Child Development Center (CDC) through a CDC Field Staff. He felt it was his responsibility to first gauge for himself whether the Center was providing quality education or not. What he witnessed at CDC, touched a cord and he enrolled four children working under his supervision in the garage, and decided to provide for their books and stationary.

Soon after enrollment in CDC, Ahmed started noticing positive changes in the children's behavior. The prospects of progress for these young children seem very bright if they continued their education with persistence and dedication. Their performance at work had also improved. Ahmed's resentment had changed into pride – what he could not do for himself, he had done for these children who were now not only supporting their families but also availing opportunities of self-development and education.

Ahmed aspires to continue to support these and other children for education so they can prosper and make a mark in society.

Sher Shah's Hope

2004

Sher Shah, located in the industrial hub of Karachi, hosts a majority that works in the city's recycling industry and as daily wage labor, is paid the bare minimum to make a living. Standing tall amongst the various mechanic shops littering a street in Sher Shah is the Child Development Center (CDC) run by the Child Labor Education Program of the Sindh Education Foundation. The center, open 12 hours a day, offers children of the community an education, a 'luxury' they could scant afford previously.

Keeping in mind the working status of the children, the center offers flexible timings to its students whereas they can manage their studies in accordance with their work schedules. "The children are very enthusiastic about coming here to learn," beams one of the teachers proudly "Even though the children have to go for work, they try their best to balance their work and their study"

"I have to clean my house and look after my younger brother." Says confident young Khadija, a bright student barely seven years of age studying in the first grade "When I am done with work I come to school"

The community of Sher Shah appreciates the efforts that have been undertaken to set the CDC in the area. They are grateful that now along with supporting their families; their children get a chance to acquire an education which would have been otherwise impossible to cater for in their meager income.

The center also believes in not just limiting education merely to the acquisition of requisite academic skills but to nurture the aesthetic skills of the students by focusing on arts, play and music which are some of the simple pleasures of childhood.

"I love studying drawing and coloring" remarks the shy Rubina "My teacher is very helpful and friendly. I like studying under her" she replies with a smile.
The center possesses a well furnished media room in which children are shown educational cartoons and movies. Regular parent teacher visits are scheduled so that parents are apprised of their child's performance in the classroom. Children are encouraged to participate and present their talents in events such as the Eid Milan parties held lately at the center. Regular health visits are also arranged so as to increase awareness on the essentials of wellbeing. This has aroused consciousness in the community about cleanliness in the area.

Overall, the center has been a source of great pride and joy for the students and the community. The CDC is a step in the right direction of providing a brighter future through education to over 300 students living in the vicinity of Sher Shah.

Tomorrow's Leaders

2010

Education is foremost and vital for the establishment of democratic system in any country. Education nurtures thdemocratic mind, which possesses the magnanimity and intellect needed to grasp concepts such as liberty, equality, justice, law, rights, and responsibilities of the state and its people. Hence, the education system should be made participatory in schools where students can learn to perceive their rights in the society.

SEF's Child Development Centre (CDC) located in Shershah Karachi, provides educational and recreational opportunities to working and street children. CDC has joined hands with SPARC which is providing a forum to young leaders for reinforcing democratic values in youth. SPARC has opened an avenue across Pakistan for children below eighteen years to participate in parliamentary democracy through the 'Child Parliament'. Although the young parliamentarians are not blessed with the facilities which are enjoyed by their national and provincial counterparts, they are determined to achieve their goals.

Mohammad Khursheed Ali, an automobile mechanic and a student of grade four at the Child Development Center was recently elected to the Children Parliament as the Minister for Child Labor. He was elected on the basis of his commitment and past services as General Secretary of CDC Students Union where he worked relentlessly to improve the conditions and status of working children. Mohammad Khursheed Ali's manifesto focused mainly on child labor issues such as verbal and physical abuse of children at work place and negotiating reasonable wages for their labor.

As a Minister in the Child Parliament, Khursheed has a heavy mandate and is diligently working towards the rights of his community by negotiating with the employers and other key players in asserting the rights of working children. He regularly shares the progress with the local body of CDC Students Union and Child Parliament for feedback and suggestions. Although Mohammad Khursheed Ali is not well-versed in English language like the other members of the parliament, he communicates with equal confidence in his native language. Meanwhile Khursheed also continues as an active member of the CDC's Students Union which comprises fifteen youth who work towards improving the conditions of child laborer in the area, inviting them to enroll at the CDC. CDC's administration also supports him in building his capacity for political engagements.

The aspirations and achievements of Khursheed Ali are highly commendable and the SEF hopes that he goes on to become a successful peoples' representative. May God help Khursheed achieve his goals!

Changing Mindsets

2010

The mission of Sindh Education Foundation is not just to educate the less privileged of Sindh, its mission is to enrich the lives of the people of Sindh by empowering them with education. Since 1998, SEF has been actively supporting schools in various districts of Sindh and its programs have been monumental in mobilizing support from local communities. These interventions have enabled SEF to change the lives of hundreds of thousands of students enrolled in schools. Samina is one such student whose life changed, when SEF opened a community school in Larkana. Little did she realize then, that her first steps into the school building will lead her to a road of economic prosperity and intellectual freedom. When a CCS school was first established in Larkana in 1998, there was no girls' school in Serai Garhi Muhd Noze Imrani village. Therefore, it was not surprising to see that not a single girl in the village was literate.

Initially when the establishment of an all girls' school was suggested to the village elders, they were not receptive to the idea. Blindsided by the traditional chauvinistic mindset, the villagers initially opposed the establishment of an all girls' school. However, after being persuaded by the SEF staff, the villagers allowed the establishment of the first all girls' school in their village. Samina was one of the thirty girls enrolled in the Serai Garhi Muhd Noze Imrani School. Samina was very bright and performed extremely well in class. But when she completed fifth grade, her family insisted that she discontinue her education for fears that if Samina completed her education, she would become "too independent" and no one would want to marry her.

However, the SEF program staff and Samina's school principal convinced Samina's family to let her continue with her education. When Samina entered sixth grade, she also enrolled in SEF's teachers training programme. After completing her training, she volunteered to be a teacher's assistant for class five for which she got a monthly remuneration from SEF. She simultaneously continued with her studies and in 2007 she enrolled in class nine of Government Girls' High School Bero Chandio, Larkana. By then, Samina had become an SEF teacher and was earning a full staff salary. Inspired by Samina's story, other families in the Serai Garhi Muhd Noze Imrani village now send their daughters to the local school. The Serai Garhi Muhd Noze Imrani village community, which was once vehemently against girls' education, is now its vocal proponent.

The Young Teachers and Doctors of Tomorrow

2004

SEF's Fellowship Schools Program reaches out to the far-flung areas of Pakistan's southern province of Sindh. Inside the classroom of one of these schools, children are excited about their future plans. "I want to be a teacher when I grow up", was the reply of the shy, bright eyed fifth grader. Suddenly the entire room burst into animated chatter, each child trying to get in a word edge wise and contributing to the discussion. "I want to be a doctor", someone shouted from the last row.

"Me too!" cried the rest of the class in perfect unison. The excitement on the faces of these young philosophers could not be hidden as their faces glowed and eyes sparkled. Their commitment seems un-faltered and they are determined to pursue their goals.

These young visionaries are students of the Mallah Mir Fellowship School situated in Rehri Mayana Goth; a small fishing community comprising population of thirty two thousand located some 17 km from Korangi. Since the past 6 years this school has experienced an interesting journey with many an impediment. Yet it has been successful in shifting the conventional thought of the residents towards education. The student enrollment amounted to less than 25 in the first year. Today this is a steep 160.

9 year old Mariam, whose parents are keen to provide their daughter with an education, has two brothers; both attend the same school. There are no restrictions as to what level the children wish to study. "I want to do my matriculation from this very village and hope that my school expands to fulfill this dream of mine," commented Mariam. She is concerned that if the school does not expand, she might have to step out of the village's secure boundaries. Nevertheless, she is determined on pursuing her goals.

"Eleven years ago, when I came to this village, the idea of sending a female child to school was beyond imagination. However things are different now. Almost all families are sending their daughters to school and wish for them a good education", informed Mariam's mother. This current situation is very different from what prevailed almost a decade back. The shift in mindset is a result of the combined and consistent efforts of the Parent Education Committee (PEC) and the teachers. In its initial years, the school encountered many obstacles from the villagers. Parents would rather have the child earn a living and help out with household chores than acquire an education.

With time and persistent effort of the PEC and teachers, the community began to observe the benefits that education reaped. They realized the visible difference in habits between children attending school and those that roamed the streets idly. The former were aware of hygiene and took regular baths, cut their nails and followed a disciplined routine. "We need to keep ourselves clean and the place we live clean," earnestly replied Mariam. The motivation, love and affection provided by her teachers add fuel to her ambitions of materializing her dreams and discovering her self. "When I grow up I will be a teacher and help others in the community just like my teachers!" Mariam exclaims with a huge smile on her face.

From Humble Beginnings to a Community Hero

2010

One woman from an impoverished locality in suburbs of Karachi brought an inspirational change in her living conditions thanks to a lot of hard work and a little help from the SEF's Women's Literacy & Empowerment Program (WLEP).

WLEP initiated intervention in Karachi's Bin Qasim Town around 2001. Rehri Goth was the primary focus area. A survey that assessed the literacy levels and prospective learners available in the area was carried out and one of the initial centers was established at a neighborhood locality, the Malkai Para that has a population of 8000 residents. Ms. Khurshid Zauja, a 32 year old resident of Para Malkai, participated actively in the survey. It was the first decision Zauja had ever made on her own while facing a lot of resistance from family and community. She involved herself in center activities and also continued her education. Upon successfully completing middle school, the local community body, in-charge of managing the centers in Malir, nominated her as the General Secretary of the Alliance.

SEF's WLEC center gave Zauja the opportunity for self-development and opened opportunities for education and employment. Today Ms. Khurshid Zauja works as the Field Officer, earning Rs. 4000 per month for an Aga Khan Foundation led Project called 'Dhuan' to arouse awareness about the ill-effects of smoke emitting from the biomass sources of fuel. She also plays a prominent role in her community while working as the Vice-President of her community body set-up by HANDS. Her academic aspirations continue as she further plans to pursue education.

All this has had a dramatic impact on Zauja's status within her own family as well as the wider community. Not only has she become a figure of admiration for others, but also the one who the community looks up to and confides in. Zauja has indeed shown through her determination that women's position is not merely one of passive spectators to household events; in fact they can play a proactive role in shaping the destiny of their families and their community.

Working with communities to assist marginalized groups helps to break down barriers and leads to real results. Today Zauja enjoys self-reliance as well as the confidence and support of her family; she also represents her community at several forums. SEF deems this a true success of its interventions.

From Students to Teachers

2009

Afshan and Mehnaz are two extraordinary individuals who are striving to make a difference in their tiny village of Kunb Daroon, situated on the outskirts of Tando Adam, District Sanghar. In just five years, these girls have journeyed from being eager students to inspiring teachers. It is hard to believe that just five years ago, the people of Kunb Daroon were against girls' education. With the collective efforts of various NGOs, however including the Parent Management Committee, people have started viewing girls' education as a fundamental right and a vital step towards improving literacy in the village. With the support of Mr. Raees Soomar Fakir Dero, who is the landlord of the village, Ghosia Fellowship Girls' School has been running smoothly since its inception on May 1, 1999. Through community support and cooperation, the school building has been renovated, refurbished and upgraded from primary to elementary level.

When the school was first established in 1999, both Afshan and Mehnaz took admission in class one. Afshan's father Mr. Lal Muhammad, a laborer by profession, was strongly against girls' education. After being persuaded by the school principal however he agreed to enroll his daughter in school. Both the girls were very intelligent and showed tremendous potential by actively participating in various activities and securing top positions in class. By the time Afshan and Mehnaz reached sixth grade, there was a dearth of qualified teachers for Kachi classes in the school. The Principal, Ms Zainab, who had been monitoring the two girls' performance over the years, recommended that Afshan and Mehnaz be hired as teachers for Kachi classes. She then interviewed both girls for the positions of teacher and ultimately, both Afshan and Mehnaz were selected as teachers during 2006. Serving their school with new responsibilities, Afshan started teaching class two and Mehnaz was given class Kachi. They simultaneously studied in the same school. When asked about the difference in teaching and being taught, Afshan said that although teaching is a challenge, it is very rewarding. With the help of her new job, Afshan was able to pay the fee of her three younger siblings and herself. Mehnaz was able to financially support her family with her salary as well.

Giving Back to the Community

2011

Out in the remote areas surrounding village Wazir Sangi in Taluka Faiz Ganj, one sees little else other than big, empty fields and a few people. After a long trek through a seemingly scarce travelled dirt road amidst the fields of rural Sindh, one comes across an innocuous looking building. Go close enough though and one hears something surprising: the sound of laughter and the lively hustle bustle of children.

This is the Bright Future Model School. It is where 303 students from the nearby villages come to learn and get themselves an education. The important thing to note here, however, is the large number of girls that are studying at this facility: 111. This fact is made all the more impressive since until the opening of the school, the number of girls in the village with any form of education was a total of 3. Even more inspiring is that one of the 3 girls is now the principal at the school.

'I always felt that the girls of my village should learn to read and write just as I did,' says Saima Kausar, principal of Bright Future School 'Education is very important and girls have as much of a right to it as boys. So for me coming back to my village to give to the children what I feel is a blessing for me was my first and foremost thought'.

Saima Kausar did her intermediate from Karundi, her Bsc from Thari University and progressed to do her Msc from Shah Abdul Latif. After completing her education her first thought was to come back to her village and help spread the gift of education to the children, which she herself was fortunate to receive. Thus when the Bright Future Model School was opened in 2009 by entrepreneur Mir Khan under SEF's PPRS project, she joined immediately.

Today there are a total of 1 male and 8 female teachers teaching at the school. Whenever a new teacher is inducted, he or she is brought in line with Saima's vision of providing the best possible education to the children. Saima's commitment and dedication to the children, and especially her encouragement of teaching girls is infectious and all the other teachers are glad to follow her lead. Moreover, lessons from SEF's teacher training sessions in which 3 teachers from the school have participated in are shared with the rest so that they are up to date with the latest and most effective teaching methods. One can see these teaching methods evident in class as the teachers encourage active participation and use games to aid in the process of learning. The children seem to be enjoying themselves as well as learn at the same time.

"The training sessions by the Sindh Education Foundation are extremely helpful!" Saima Kausur remarks "The techniques we learn in these sessions have proven to be highly useful and effective".

The school offers courses in English, Math, Science, Social Studies, Sindhi and Islamiyat. Children come to learn from distances of over 3 km to get a chance to learn and educate themselves and Saima Kausar and her team of teachers are more than happy to provide them with the opportunity.

Grassroots PECs Network: A Success Story

2010

In 2001, the SEF initiated 100 schools as part of the Fellowship School Program that aimed primarily to increase female participation in education. Community partnerships were a key thrust for ensuring establishment, management and sustainability of these schools. Locally formed Parent Education Committees (PEC) registered under the Social Welfare Act 1961 brought about greater parental and community participation. The PECs manage overall school administration, teacher recruitment, salary disbursals and parent-teacher coordination. Frequent study tours for teachers are also arranged to enhance academic skills.

In 2005 PECs of various schools formed consortiums to ensure organized and uninterrupted provision of education for the children. One such network, the Bin Qasim Town Fellowship Network, started as an association of eight schools in 2005, six of which continue to be a part of the network even today, namely Dawn Fellowship School, Shahbaz Fellowship School, Baloch Fellowship School, Khatoon-e-Jannat Fellowship School, Roshan Fellowship School and Tayyaba Fellowship School. The schools have a total enrollment of 1665 students and 56 teachers. The network holds registration under the Citizens Community Board (CCB) and seeks to synergize resources for the schools and address administrative and academic issues through a common platform. An examination body instituted under the consortium oversees the schools' academic interventions and examination. A vibrant team of seven members designs and implements the syllabus and monitors progress. Monthly meetings of the PECs are held at Bin Qasim Head Office in Shafi Goth (Karachi), where specific concerns of each school are discussed. PEC members make generous contributions recurrently to bear the expenditures of the school so that students continue to benefit from free education.

Bin Qasim Fellowship Network's long history of involvement in schools starting from school administration to fund raising, to assisting teachers, to academic planning and organizing students' assessments as well as co-operation and support to PECs has been a worthwhile contribution towards education of hundreds of underprivileged children in this remote hinterland of Karachi. The schools managed by the consortium receive technical and financial assistance as part of SEF's Integrated Education Learning Program; and the network's efficient oversight of all areas of school management ensures equitable funds management and pro-active response to the learning needs of students.

Partnering with local organizations such as the Bin Qasim Network has been a major factor in bringing sustainability to SEF's efforts as well as in creating greater ownership of educational interventions among the communities.

Revitalizing Education

2010

Shaheed Waris Fellowship School, a partner school of Sindh Education Foundation had fallen prey to what plagues most of the schools in rural Sindh. There was an alarming increase in the drop out rate of the students; the teachers lacked motivation and proper training; the learning materials in the classroom were inadequate and the parents' attendance at parent-teacher meetings was poor. The given scenario coupled with unsuccessful attempts by the school to mitigate the situation ignited the disillusionment of the community, eventually making them withdraw their support and cooperation. It was 2008 when the Shaheed Waris Fellowship School was brought under the Improving Quality of Education Programme (IQEP) of SEF.

As expected, the new program had to deal with the inherited troubles brought about by the use of conventional teaching methodologies. However, the extensive trainings carried out under IQEP to enhance the capacity-building of the teachers set the ground for progress. The school was provided with learning resource material while counselling and support was extended to the school administrators. As a result, the teachers became better equipped with skills to adopt a more activity-based teaching style thus, generating the interest of both students and teachers in the lessons. The interventions gradually but surely enhanced the enrolment and attendance rate in Shaheed Waris Fellowship School. The improvement in the quality of education also attracted admissions from various surrounding government schools and the community so that the school could regain the support it had earlier lost.

Now, the facts speak for themselves. The enrolment has increased from 90 to 145 (more than 50%). The teachers have worked upon their teaching methodologies and adapted to the modern, more activity-based style of teaching. After many collaborative and multi-faceted efforts that eventually paid off, Shaheed Waris Fellowship School is now one of the model partner schools of SEF.

Nadia's Determination

2009

Inclusive education is based on the right of all learners to a quality education that meets basic learning needs and enriches lives. This simply means that no school or institute can discriminate against learners with disabilities. Inclusion rejects the use of special schools or classrooms to separate students with disabilities from students without disabilities and promotes the philosophy of including students with disabilities in mainstream classrooms.

In Pakistan, however, the concept of inclusive education is not well known and certainly not adequately implemented. Children with disabilities are shunned from mainstream schools and are forced to attend special schools as a result which are also not very many. A very small minority of schools that appear "tolerant" enough to accept children with disabilities in their mainstream school fail to provide assistance to such students or any guidance to the teacher for helping these students. As a result the teacher feels frustrated when she fails to effectively communicate with the disabled child and the child is discouraged as he is unable to keep up with his classmates due to lack of guidance.

Even though in Pakistan most children with disabilities are either forced to attend "special schools" or kept at home as they are shunned from mainstream schools, there are some who pursue learning despite facing physical challenges. Nadia, who is a resident of village Mohammad Yousuf Baloch in Karachi, is a hearing impaired student at a mainstream school.

Bibi Fatima Community Supported School initially refused to grant admission to Nadia due to her disability. However Nadia remained insistent and stood outside the school gates every day till the school was forced to accept this six year old into their classroom. Nadia has turned out to be one of the most hard working and enthusiastic students of her class and even though she could not hear or talk, she learnt using sign language, facial expressions and lip movements. Even Nadia's classmates whole heartedly accepted her as part of their group and interacted with her using sign language and lip movements. Nadia's transition into a mainstream school has been remarkably smooth and her story can be used as an example for all the other schools in Pakistan, that refuse to accept students just because of their disability. This little girl's story gives us hope that if we look beyond the physical challenges of students with disabilities and adopt an open mind, inclusive education may one day be a part of our society and our system of education.

Protect Identity

2009

This is the story of Shaheen, a remarkable woman, who is a source of inspiration to the Matiari Village community. Shaheen has been the Principal at a fellowship school in district Matiari for over ten years. She has faced social and financial difficulties, but no challenge has been able to falter her courage or deter her from achieving her goal. And her goal is simple: to empower the children of her village through education. Shaheen not only likes to teach students, she also encourages her staff to obtain training in new teaching methodologies and guides them every step of the way. Shaheen believes in involving parents in enhancing the academic interests of children. Therefore parents at Shaheen's school regularly communicate with teachers to ensure that their children are making progress at school and discuss any difficulties that children may be facing in any subject. The Fellowship School Program team, responsible for school supervision has commended Shaheen for her efforts in promoting literacy in her village.

In February this year, Shaheen's life took an unexpected turn when she was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors prescribed six months of intensive treatment and suggested complete bed rest. Even her family and FSP team instructed her to stay at home and rest but Shaheen simply refused to give in to cancer saying "I couldn't, if I take leave during annual examination session, it would be a loss to my school and my students". Therefore Shaheen continued to run her school while fighting her private battle with cancer.

Even though the cancer treatment affected her both physically and emotionally, Shaheen never gave up and continued to teach. Now, with God's blessing, Shaheen is responding well to her treatment and will recover soon. She still comes to school regularly and conducts all her duties with the same enthusiasm and energy as she did on her first day as Principal. Shaheen epitomizes dedication, hard work and courage and has showed us that no how great a challenge, we shall always prevail if we don't give up.

Remembering Dr. Nabi Bux Baloch

2011

Local wisdom enables lifelong learning in society. The Sindh Education Foundation has always placed great emphasis on indigenous knowledge and promotes learning from local culture, ideas and people in order to make education process a balanced integration of both global and native knowledge systems. One such personality, Dr. Nabi Bux Baloch (1917-2011), was a legendary scholar known nationally and abroad alike and the SEF had the privilege of benefiting some from his invaluable experience and learning.

Dr. Nabi Bux Baloch, a scholar, researcher, educationist and historian, passed away on 6th April. His lasting contributions to Sindhi literature are his writings that include Sindhi dictionaries, folk stories, folk songs, gujhartoon (riddles) and folk music, through which he will live amongst us forever. His curiosity towards culture motivated him to travel to every part of Sindh to collect and compile the folk literature. His compilation of Shah Abdul Latif jo Risalo which comprises of ten volumes has earned him acclaim from around the world. His work in other languages including Sindhi, Urdu, Siraeki, Arabic and Farsi, allowed him to translate great works of many foreign authors as well. Dr. Baloch was affiliated with various institutions namely the Authority for Moen-jo-Daro - Pakistan, Inter University Board of Pakistan, University Grants Commission Islamabad, Historical Records & Archives, Central Urdu board Lahore among other academic forums. He served as a first dean of Sindh University, and later became the Vice Chancellor of the University. He was the founder fellow member of Academy of Letters, Islamabad. Dr. N. B. Baloch is recipient of numerous awards amongst which are the Tamgha-e-Pakistan, Sitara-e- Quaid-e-Azam, and the Presidential Pride of Performance that acknowledge his contribution to literature.

Dr. Nabi Bux Baloch's introduction to the SEF documentary, "Kachehri" (a traditional gathering peculiar to Sindh), highlights the importance of this custom in sustaining societal values and for encouraging communication and dialogue. His interview for the documentary also emphasized the role of Kachehri in the preservation of traditional knowledge and folklore genre. The documentary has been circulated widely amongst the school communities and has played an important part in revitalizing the Katchehri tradition.

With the passing of Dr. Baloch, the country has lost not just a scholar but an institution in a man. We are all the poorer without him and it is important that the strength and power of his legacy continue to motivate us in our actions and work.

Ripples in a Pond

2010

The small ripple created when the pebble hits the water can be a wave by the time it reaches the opposite shore. Thus is Safia's struggle for reform.

Safia and her endeavors for education are a matter of pride for her family and community. It was not long ago when she faced resistance from her poor rural household against her desire to attend school. But Safia was determined. With support from a local teacher and the Sindh Education Foundation she brought a change in the community culture that did not value educating girls at all.

7 years ago, IQRA School was established in Jamshoro Bhariya Village, district Jamshoro. In the early days, the SEF team visited the community door to door to raise awareness about the importance of education. When Safia heard about the opportunity, she expressed her desire to attend school. Her parents showed resistance to her wish. The SEF team made several visits to the community to convince the family. Community meetings finally gave way and Safia's grandfather agreed to send Safia to school three days a week.

Permission to attend school only on alternate days did not discourage Safia. With the help of her teacher, she would take lessons ahead of the class and was able to complete 5th grade education in a span of 3 years. Since there was no middle school in the neighborhood, Safia facilitated by the local teacher acquired grade 6 curriculum and started home schooling. Simultaneously Safia also gave tuition to her younger siblings and other girls and boys in the community. She decided to put her savings of a mere Rs. 200 to a good use by taking admission in a nearby private school to appear in grade 6 examination. Her school teacher pitched in another Rs. 200 to meet the shortfall in the admission fee and chaperoned Safia to the private school, where in two month's time she had to appear for final examination.

Safia has never looked back since then. She recently passed the Board Examinations for SSC Part I with flying colors and is presently enrolled in grade 10 at the Government Girls High School, Jamshoro. She also imparts basic education to young girls and boys of her community.

Safia's efforts and perseverance managed to bring about change and the community is now willing to allow and invest in the education of their daughters. SEF is proud to have contributed in Safia's efforts for reform so that she can pursue her dreams and her community can pursue a better life.

The Gate Keeper

2010

This is the inspiring story of a gatekeeper turned entrepreneur, who had the vision to empower his community through education. Imam Bux, chairperson of CSS Bulandi School and a resident of Mehmood Jamote Union Council, Darsando Channa village, wanted to spread the light of knowledge in his village. Not only was the village devoid of proper schools for children, it also did not have qualified teachers who could impart education to the young minds of the village. Imam Bux knew that the only way he could ensure a better future for his daughters was by empowering them with education. He sought the help of the teachers of Government Girls' School, where he was employed as gatekeeper, and enrolled both his daughters in the school. Imam Bux knew, however, that much more was needed to be done in order to make basic education accessible to all in his village. Incidentally, when Sindh Education Foundation decided to open a school in Mehmood Jamote village, the SEF team met with Imam Bux to discuss the staggering challenges facing the team. As luck would have it, Imam Bux knew a qualified resident, Ms Noor Bano, who was delighted to take on teaching responsibilities at "Bulandi" school.

The landlord, Mr. Mehmood Jamote (late), graciously provided a building free of cost for the school. However, this ambitious project met with fierce resistance from the local community as many villagers were still shackled by false beliefs and unfounded fears. Many residents even warned Ms Noor Bano's parents against their decision to support their daughter's endeavors, but Ms Noor Bano's parents stood their ground and publicly supported their daughter. The Sindh Education Foundation helped train teachers and provided logistical support for the school. Ten years after the school was first established in 1999, Bulandi Community Supported School is now one of the most successful CSS schools of SEF and has full support from the local residents. The people of Mehmood Jamote village are now proud of their community school and are determined to educate every child in their village.

United We Stand

2011

A single person with noble ambitions and enough determination can achieve much, but acts that transform lives and shape futures come to pass when the individual possesses the support of his fellow man, his community. The will of the one is strong, but the will of the many, joined in a common cause, is near invincible.

A few can illustrate this better than in the case of the village Haji Wazir Ali Sangi, situated in Taluka Faizgunj, district Khairpur. Haji Wazir Ali Sangi has more than 300 houses with various communities co-existing within it the likes of Sangi, Lakha, Gaha, Shar, Awann, Marri, Jat, Kalhora and Korri. And yet, the village was deprived of the light of knowledge, having no school in the vicinity. The nearest educational facility where the children could go was a public school in the village of Iqbal Shaikh, taluka Bhiya City, district Nousharhro Feroz at a distance of 3 km.

The lack of a school gravely concerned the people of the village who were worried about the future prospects of the next generation without the grounding of education. This was brought to the attention of the village leadership Mr. Haji Wazir Sangi and Mir Khan Dahri, who having heard about Sindh Education Foundation's PPRS Project approached SEF's Khairpur office and applied for opening a school. The villager's application was held under close scrutiny and subsequently passed the rigorous verification criteria. 'The Bright Future School' hence came into existence in 2009.

However, things were not that simple during the period of inception of the school and the entrepreneur Mr. Mir Khan faced his share of problems. The school building consisted of only two rooms and as the enrolment increased, the already limited space was found clearly insufficient in accommodating the number of students. The school also faced a dearth of female teachers since there were not many educated women residing in the village. This is where the villagers voluntarily labored for the future of their children and helped in the expansion of the school premises. Today 'The Bright Future School' has not two, but seven rooms for the children to learn in. To help resolve the teacher issue, Mr. Mir Khan invited applications from female teachers in the nearest village.

'The Bright Future School' now has a total enrolment of 323 children and a total of 8 female teachers. Amongst these teachers, one received training from SEF's Assessment Unit who then further disseminated her knowledge to her colleagues. This training enabled teachers to use different and effective teaching methodologies such as the implementation of Activity Based Learning and the encouragement of group work. Apart from classes, the school has also arranged recreational visits to Dargah of Hazrat Sachal Sarmast, Kot Diji fort, Sukkur Bridge and the Tomb of Hazrat Masoom Shah. National and religious days are also celebrated with much fervor as well as the arrangement of various other events. The school management committee remains active and committed to the future of the children and holds monthly meetings in which parents are involved to keep abreast of their children's progress and also as a means to encourage the communal effort they have so wondrously initiated.

With the cooperation of Sindh Education Foundation and the collective efforts of the villagers, Goth Haji Wazir Ali Sangi has taken a big step towards development. It is only by the joining of hands and working together towards a worthy goal that their road to enlightenment and progress lies open in front of them.

Whence the darkness, now shines a bright light of hope

2011

As part of SEF's PPRS initiative, one institution has become the shining beacon of hope that provides pre-primary education to 181 children today in Kambar Shahdad Kot.

Darkness possessed Kambar Shahdad Kot district.

Not darkness in the traditional sense, mind you, but maybe something far worse. This was a darkness of the mind, the bleakness and despair of seeing a new generation without access to hope, without access to a worthwhile future. This was the invading darkness of a lack of education, not because the people of Kambar Shahdad Kot chose it so, but because of a lack of any educational facility in the area whatsoever.

But where there is darkness, there is also light. First a glimmer, then a ray of hope, and soon all of it changed.

When Sindh Education Foundation started its Promoting Private Schooling initiative, Mr. Munawar Ali Lashari, an entrepreneur from the area, saw this as the perfect opportunity to do right by his community. Combining the assistance offered by the SEF with his own hard work and dedication, he achieved what a few people in the colony ever thought possible. Thus in 2009 Hira Public School opened its doors and extended educational opportunities to the children from marginalized community.

The colony responded with just as much zeal and vigor to the opening of the school. This was evidenced by the quick enrollment of children in the facility. Today, the school has an enrollment of 181 students, 120 of whom are boys and 61 girls.

The Hira Public School building is equipped with all the basic amenities conducive for a healthy learning environment such as a big playground, activity halls and functional toilets. The school building is spacious and provides for children's play and extra curricular activities.

The infrastructure facilities are coupled with academic staff comprising of 4 dedicated teachers. Teachers offer extra classes for children who may sometimes have difficulty in grasping the daily learning routine. One-to-one attention is given to every child to ensure that no one gets left behind. Everyday, after school timings, the teachers spend an hour planning lessons to maximize the effectiveness of their educational strategies and activities.

Even school discipline has had a positive effect and can be seen by observing the students showing up at school everyday, in neat and tidy uniforms. Absenteeism is at its lowest and students look forward to coming to school. The school has also garnered quite a good reputation for extra curricular activities with week long sports tournaments being held at the campus in which the community participates as well.

All of this has been due to Mr. Munawar's commitment, which has only been seen to increase after the opening of the school. He is actively involved in the workings of the school and is there on a daily basis, participating in meetings and managing the day to day issues. Not only is he active in the management, but also teaches students with a focus on explaining the concepts rather than promoting rote learning. His dedication and ardor has a definite motivational effect on the staff and in turn the students.

Within just two years of its founding, the school has become a trusted institution amongst parents and the district. The darkness has been vanquished owing to the dedication of one man given an opportunity to support his community. The colony now basks in the light of the education being provided to its children. We hope in the coming times that we will get to see more shining examples illuminate the country and our people.

Bakhtawar's Unswerving Dedication

2010

Self belief is the key virtue of successful life which helps overcome all hardships in life and reaching the desired destination. Bakhtawar, a local of Khando Khan Bozdar village is a true example of courage and determination. She faced many hardships since a young age as she struggled to acquire education in a remote village of Sehwan. The villagers were against female education and reacted very strongly against Bakhtawar's decision to enroll in the newly established Government Boys Primary School. She was pelted with stones as she walked to the school every day but she was undeterred and she continued unfailingly to complete her high school. Once married, Bukhtawar had full support of her husband and she joined a local community school as a teacher. This antagonized the villagers even further and Bukhtawar was subjected to physical abuse as she battled for life at a local hospital.

Bakhtawar's unswerving and everlasting dedication towards education enabled her to reach a turning point when in 2006 she got associated with Sindh Education Foundation's Women's Literacy Empowerment Program (WLEP). The program helped in enhancing Bukhtawar's skills in classroom management and teaching methodologies. This experience empowered her not only with knowledge but also in gaining the confidence to establish her own organization by the name of Al-Noor. The organization imparts health awareness to poor communities in the area. Bakhtawar has a high regard for SEF and its role in empowering social change particularly for marginalized women groups; she acknowledges WLEP efforts in particular and attributes her association with the program as one of true learning. Bukhtawar remains associated with WLEP as a Learning Facilitator even today. SEF salutes such brave women.

Young Stars

2010

Sherhshah, located to the south east of Karachi, is an industrial hub and home to many communities and settlers from other parts of the country. Being an industry center, the area provides employment opportunities for young workers and adults alike. Working children, a common sight to see, work primarily to supplement household income. The majority as a result fail to attend school or acquire any type of education. SEF's Child Development Center is an educational and recreational facility that aims to reach out to the many working children in the area. Established in 2001, the Center works closely with employers and runs three- shifts to accommodate students as per their work schedules.

More than 300 students are presently enrolled at the Center which provides education up to the elementary level. The CDC has also created linkages with other educational facilities in the area for streamlining students into the main education process. A couple of years ago the first batch of students completed their elementary level in a three year program at CDC. Efforts were made by the Center staff members to streamline the students into 'Shafi Technical School' so they may continue their education. Since Shafi Technical is located in the same vicinity as CDC, it was easier for the Center staff to liaise with the Technical school, employers of children and their homes. During the years the CDC teachers have remained mentors for these young students. They have continuously facilitated and encouraged them to manage the work lives and study simultaneously.

The efforts of CDC staff and hard work and determination on part of Samiya Raees, Talha Abdul Qayyum, Sajjad Allahyar, Nadeem Muhammad Siddique and Nasir Amanullah, finally paid off when they finally passed their matriculate this year. These students belong to poor backgrounds having to share the burden of their families from a very young age. As far back as they remember, Nasir has been working in a textile firm while Nadeem and Talha are self-employed in computer scrap business. They have big dreams and aspirations and they all wish to study further and establish themselves as successful businessmen or serve the country through service. The SEF management has extended their full support for realizing the dreams of these teenagers and promised to facilitate the students to continue with the education process.

On January 19, 2010, the SEF organized a ceremony at the Head Office in Karachi. The Managing Director and the staff of the Foundation joined in the celebration as a token of appreciation for their remarkable efforts and spirit. Later the young stars were entertained to lunch and an informal discussion about their future. The SEF hopes that this pioneering effort will attract more youth to dream and work towards a bright future.

Youthful Ambitions

2011

Even at such a young age, the intensity written clearly on Ayesha's face cannot be denied. Her striking brown eyes and solemn expression belay a determination to strive and excel at the task set in front of her.

"Education is the way of life," Ayesha, aged 10, says with conviction "People around us did not have the benefit of education thus we know what an important thing we have missed out on."

Ayesha studies at the Mohsin Model School, village Arbab Khan Noorani, Taluka Thari Mirwah District Khairpur Mir. The school started in April 2009, by entrepreneur Moharam Ali under Sindh Education Foundation's PPRS Project, where Ayesha along with 300 other children is in attendance (84 girls and 218 boys). Despite the school being situated at a remove from the village, children come from distances of over 3 km to study. Ayesha herself is dropped to school by her father Ali Nawaz by motorbike everyday since her house is at a distance of over a kilometer.

Her parents, as of those of other children attending the school, feel that education is paramount and want her to have opportunities they themselves did not have. They encourage Ayesha to go to school every day even if it means her absence in the household chores. Ayesha indulges willingly with the housework but likes learning at the school a lot more. It has been 2 months since she has joined the school and is currently studying in grade 1. She is an active learner during the classes for English, Math, General Science, Islamiyat, Social Studies, Sindhi and Urdu though, and claims that her favorite subject remains English. Such is her drive that she says that she does not enjoy the usual games that the other children play and prefers playing study related games with her 3 friends that she has made at the school.

Ayesha already has an objective she wants to achieve given her role model at school. "I am going to be a teacher!" she states confidently when asked about what she wants to do when she grows up.

Grassroots PECs Network: A Success Story

In 2001, the SEF initiated 100 schools as part of the Fellowship School Program that aimed primarily to increase female participation in education. Community partnerships were a key thrust for ensuring establishment, management and sustainability of these schools. Locally formed Parent Education Committees (PEC) registered under the Social Welfare Act 1961 brought about greater parental and community participation. The PECs manage overall school administration, teacher recruitment, salary disbursals and parent-teacher coordination. Frequent study tours for teachers are also arranged to enhance academic skills.

In 2005 PECs of various schools formed consortiums to ensure organized and uninterrupted provision of education for the children. One such network, the Bin Qasim Town Fellowship Network, started as an association of eight schools in 2005, six of which continue to be a part of the network even today, namely Dawn Fellowship School, Shahbaz Fellowship School, Baloch Fellowship School, Khatoon-e-Jannat Fellowship School, Roshan Fellowship School and Tayyaba Fellowship School. The schools have a total enrollment of 1665 students and 56 teachers. The network holds registration under the Citizens Community Board (CCB) and seeks to synergize resources for the schools and address administrative and academic issues through a common platform. An examination body instituted under the consortium oversees the schools' academic interventions and examination. A vibrant team of seven members designs and implements the syllabus and monitors progress. Monthly meetings of the PECs are held at Bin Qasim Head Office in Shafi Goth (Karachi), where specific concerns of each school are discussed. PEC members make generous contributions recurrently to bear the expenditures of the school so that students continue to benefit from free education.

Bin Qasim Fellowship Network's long history of involvement in schools starting from school administration to fund raising, to assisting teachers, to academic planning and organizing students' assessments as well as co-operation and support to PECs has been a worthwhile contribution towards education of hundreds of underprivileged children in this remote hinterland of Karachi. The schools managed by the consortium receive technical and financial assistance as part of SEF's Integrated Education Learning Program; and the network's efficient oversight of all areas of school management ensures equitable funds management and pro-active response to the learning needs of students.

Partnering with local organizations such as the Bin Qasim Network has been a major factor in bringing sustainability to SEF's efforts as well as in creating greater ownership of educational interventions among the communities.

A Lifesaver

Ambreen has never been to school. Having given up nearly all hope by now of ever receiving education, she was delighted to learn about the women literacy center run by Sindh Education Foundation via its Women Literacy and Empowerment Program (WLEP) in Kohi Goth. Along with her friend Ayesha, Ambreen decided to join the Kohi Goth center in 2006. "Attending the WLEP Center has significantly helped improve my life," she said. "Before coming here I faced problems in managing even daily tasks such as taking the bus. Since I could not read numbers printed on the bus, I would face difficulty in using transport facilities. Now I can read, and this had made me more confident when travelling. Ambreen's new found confidence is easily visible. She says "Some people attend school to learn. I never went to school. All that I have learned is from this center."

The Women Literacy and Empowerment Program (WLEP) initiated by the Sindh Education Foundation in 2001 is a lifeline for girls such as Ambreen who have been neglected by society. Currently 13 WLEP centers (WLECs) are functioning in various parts of Sehwan and Karachi to provide learners with opportunities for basic literacy and skills and to raise awareness of women's rights. One of WLEP's recent initiatives has been to participate in an "Assistant Nurse Training Course", organized by the Pakistan National Forum on Women's Health (PNFWH) and Research Alliance for Advocacy and Development (Raad) in collaboration with Abu Zafar Institute of Medical Sciences (AZIMS). The course offers women an opportunity to gain a professional degree which would allow them to improve the economic and social status of their households. 10 WLEP learners from Karachi applied for, and were selected for the 6 month course.

Ambreen was one of the 10 selected learners for the "Madadgar Nurse" course. Her delight on being chosen was evident from her beaming face. "I was very happy when I was selected," she exclaimed. "On finding out that I had been accepted, I went and bought mitthai (traditional sweets) for all my friends and family to celebrate my achievement."

Ambreen recalls with wonder on how much she has learned since joining the course. "I have learnt so much about symptoms of illnesses and diseases and now understand measures which need to be taken to prevent conditions from becoming aggravated. The other day my sister fell sick and I checked her pulse which was racing. I knew she needed treatment, and I told my mother to take her immediately to a doctor. The doctor on examining her said her blood pressure was very high. Before this course I would not have known what to do." The sentiment was echoed by Dr. Irfan, one of the doctors leading this project who also commented on the skills and knowledge being acquired by the participants. "These young girls and women are valuable human resources and can be mobilized to deal effectively with circumstances such as snakebites, fractures, childbirths etc." Dr. Irfan stated the course was designed to give the participants leadership skills to take quick decisions in emergency situations. The "Madadgar Nurse" course is unique as it is designed to target women who have limited or no educational background. It aims to provide disadvantaged women with a stepping stone and a way to gain further skill. According to Dr. Irfan, the participants have potential to greatly improve their future. "Some girls in the group are so intelligent and motivated," he said, "that I feel they will go onto complete advance nurse training courses in the future."

That is exactly what Ambreen wants to do. Her young face lights up with determination when she is asked what's next for her. She confidently states that she will find a way to complete her matriculation so that she can enroll herself in a nurse training course. "I want to be trained so that when I get married and have children I know how to take care of them better. I also want to be qualified to take care of people in my community" Ambreen is full of gratitude for the opportunities that have come her way since joining WLEP. "I think this center is a lifesaver. A lot of girls are not allowed to attend educational facilities because they do not get permission from their families. They can come to WLEP centers without family opposition due to its safe environment to pursue education. Look at me. Before I came to this center I didn't know anything. Now I have managed to come so far."

Making the Dream a Reality

Contrary to what the privileged and the lucky may believe, life may not be a bed of roses for everyone. There are those who have had to face hardships at every turn, fighting obstacles and etching their will and existence in the world. However, oft times this struggle can result in creating something stronger than before. People possessing the courage to face adversity, rising to meet the challenges through hard work and dedication, become like tempered steel carving a road leading to their destiny and a brighter future. These are the people who stand up, no matter what the odds, and fight.

These are the people who make a difference.

Such is the tale of two sisters, Humaira and Tahira. Little did they know what lay in their future, and the fates of countless others who they would come to affect, when they migrated from their native town of Thatta to Muwach Goth, Karachi.

As first graders Humaira and Tahira had to go to school as the other children played on the streets, and wondered what they had done to deserve this punishment. That all changed when their infant cousin died because of being given expired medicine by the mother, because she could not read and did not know any better. It was then that the sisters realized the importance of education and vowed to bring about a change. Their journey to wipe out the darkness of ignorance began here.

By the age of 10, the two sisters were teaching children in their own home, what they had learnt at school. Their journey was hard and arduous as they faced criticisms from the community as well as their father and brothers at home, who used to physically abuse them and their mother for sending the girls to school. In one instance, their father broke their mother’s arm for allowing Humaira to take her exams. Despite the abuse, their mother never backed down and never compromised on the girls’ education. She believed that this was the only way to escape the vicious cycle of disempowerment she herself had suffered.

Soon enough there wasn’t space to teach anymore children at their home and Humaira and her sister were about to give up. Their efforts, however, did not go in vain. Their hard work was noticed by ARM Youth Welfare Society, who were amazed by the efforts of the two young girls and helped them in acquiring funds from the Rotary Club. With their assistance, the girls were successful in acquiring a plot for their school on rent and the Dream Model Street School came into being.

The Sindh Education Foundation through its Integrated Education Learning Program began supporting the Dream Model Street School in 2005. Over the years, the Dream Model Street School with the assistance of the Sindh Education Foundation and other helping bodies is providing free education to more than a 1,000 students of which more than 60% are girls. The school runs from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm in four shifts providing education to different age groups through primary and secondary. Adult literacy classes for young women, Madrasa and child labor classes are also conducted on the school premises. The 22 young teachers, aged between 13 and 24, all continue their own education at the same time as they teach others.

In 2013, Humaira and Tahira’s efforts came into the international limelight when Oscar winner Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy produced a documentary ‘Dream Catcher’ that highlighted the struggle and the success of the sisters against the odds. The documentary ended up being showcased at the Chime for Change Concert in London, where famous singer Madonna not only highly praised the sister’s efforts but also donated funds to the building of a floor in the school. Since then the Dream Foundation has garnered national and international acclaim and support for their hard work and commitment.

Today, despite receiving continuous threats and the poor law and order situation in Muwach Goth, Humaira and Tahira are still determined to serve their community, educating others for a better life. The Dream Model Street School can be considered a seed sown by Humaira and her sister, which blossomed into a beautiful tree bearing the fruit of their labor. The school, which originated in the girl’s kitchen space, is now a three storied building comparable in structure to any elite private school. The school is a beacon of hope and of dreams; dreams that if followed with enough conviction and dedication, may become a reality.

Sindh Education Foundation: Supporting Education where no one else can!

The Sindh Education Foundation is one of the biggest proponents of the cause of education and is present in far flung areas of Sindh to support communities where no one else can reach. For SEF, no community should be deprived of a chance to education; no people should be ignored and forgotten, no matter where they are.

The Sindh Education Foundation undertook a visit to the schools supported by the Integrated Education Learning Program at the Pakistan border in the Tharparkar, Mithi and Sanghar districts from the 26th to 30th of May 2014. These are desolate areas where little or no help is provided for those residing there, especially when it comes to education. SEF through IELP supports schools for the benefit of the locals, to give them free education to help better themselves. The Foundation also provides supplementary educational material in the form of school books and bags completely free of cost.

SEF’s Marketing, Advocacy and Publication team and the IELP staff visited the schools to gather information on performance indicators and evaluate the schools’ progress. The schools visited by the SEF staff were operated by the Indus Rangers Wing 32 and Wing 33.

The 3 schools Sindh Rangers Girls Primary School (145 girls), M. Yousif High School (188 boys, 18 girls) and Miyam M. Yousif School (161 boys, 32 girls) in villages Panat, Malook ki Dhani and Saddan respectively were observed by the SEF team.

These schools have been established close to the Indo-Pak border, in areas that afford little in the way of amenities for living and where etching out an existence is a struggle on a daily basis. And yet those with determination, resolve and a sense of purpose never give up. They overcome all the obstacles and persevere. This is what the Rangers Wing 32 led by Major Wajid and Wing 33 under Colonel Siddique have done. They operate top quality schools in areas which lack most of the basic requirements and amenities present in other districts. The Sindh Rangers Girls Primary School in particular, operated by Colonel Siddique’s Wing 33, gives little girls access to education which is done by no one else close to the locality.

The schools were seen to be in exemplary conditions, both in the physical (infrastructural requirements) and also the cognitive (content dissemination) sense. The children were impeccably dressed in schools uniforms and shoes provided by the Rangers and displayed a great sense of discipline and cleanliness. The teachers at the schools were found to be highly qualified who were effective in teaching methodology and content comprehension techniques. The teachers had complete control of their classes, which commenced at 7 in the morning and finished at 4 in the evening.

The Rangers provided a safe and secure school campus, aesthetically pleasing to the eye, with adequate washing facilities for both boys and girls. The schools even provided fully functional science and computer labs to teach practical lessons to the children. Keeping in mind their surroundings, the schools operated on solar power for electricity, lowering their power costs substantially low.

The schools operated by the Rangers are examples of hard work and commitment resulting in quality outcomes, despite being in remote areas. The SEF highly commends the operator’s dedication in providing education to the surrounding community, who are highly thankful and appreciative for being afforded the help. SEF encourages all others to take these schools as role models and do their best in providing a better future to the children of their community.