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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Basic Education for Children in Lahore

Narrated by Aisa Maula:

We are the members of “Enlighten Enfranchise group” and after attending Active Citizens workshop, we decided to spread education amongst the under-privileged children of our community as a Social Action Project.

Many children in our community are uneducated who spend their time playing and running errands for others. Education is very important for such young children as it helps mould their personalities and is a beneficial asset for their bright futures. We want to serve the community by equipping the children with education.

Enlighten Enfranchise group consists of four members and we strongly believe that it’s every child’s right to receive good education. Therefore, we’ve established a school for uneducated children where we teach them the fundamentals of English, Maths and Urdu. We, currently, have 9 students enrolled in our community school, and six months later we’ll recruit new students to teach.

We teach students for three days a week for two hours daily and give them home-work regularly. We try providing these children the syllabi books, pencils and writing note books too.

We are hoping our endeavours will bring a desirable change in our communities soon and more children will be inclined towards receiving education.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Voting Awareness Campaign

By Active Citizens Youth Group

How many of us vote? To be honest - Hardly anyone! and because we don’t vote, we aren’t very happy with the government in office. “Not voting” during the elections has become more of a trend amongst our community members because they perceive that voting won’t help. Actually, their notions are wrong!! Voting does help. Besides, being citizens of a democratic country, it’s our legal right too.

We figured “not voting” as a major problem in our community and as Active Citizens we had to do something to encounter this issue. Towards the end of Active Citizens workshop, we – eight young people – formed a group and decided to do our social action project around encouraging community people to start casting their votes.

We chose Gulberg 3, Gulberg 2, Ghalib market, Fatehabad Lahore as target areas to spread voting awareness and divided the work equally amongst ourselves. Javeed Yousaf and Babu Server agreed on monitoring and evaluating our project while the rest of us became project executors.

We commenced “Voting Awareness Campaign” by carrying out a research into the voting concepts people have in rural areas. Research helped us in locating the precise problem and we devised a strategy in presenting our counterarguments. We began visiting these people individually - door to door – raising awareness about the benefits of voting and the ways it can impact their lives.

This done, we arranged a get-together for the entire community where we discussed the pros of voting openly and even invited a speaker to further clarify indigenous enquiries.

Most of the community people agreed to cast their votes next time the elections take place, however some were still adamant. We’re endeavouring to convince them too but, at the end of the day, voting would be entirely everybody’s own choice.

An important aspect of the campaign was we bore all the expenses wholly ourselves. We didn’t collect any funds nor did we ask any affluent community member to support us in managing our project.

We sincerely hope our struggle bears fruit and community people begin voting!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Teaching textile skills

One of the finest ways to serve people is to teach them skills. The same enthusiasm motivated the textile designing students of iACT to share and teach their textile designing skills to the young and deserving girls. Hence, they contacted Darul Atfal (Girls Hostel, City District Government Karachi).

Permission was taken from the higher authorities for conducting such a session in the hostel. As a mentor and field expert, Miss Yasmeen Serwar, was engaged who helped the volunteers in designing the outline for the session and also in purchasing the material.

In total, 6 sessions were conducted during the months of December 2010 to February 2011. 3 sessions were on “how to tie and dye and techniques”, whereas 3 were on “silk painting and dying.” Fifteen girls participated in the training sessions along with 5 teachers and staff.

It was our pleasure to see the girls and CDGK interested, as Miss. Zarfeshan Arbab from community development department took special interest and visited the session several times.

By the end of the project, almost every girl was able to dye their dupattas, shirts, scarf’s and cushions covers. It was encouraging for the volunteers to see how quick the result of their hard work was in the form of young talent.
Several samples were put on display in the hostel and different dresses were also used by the girls in order to use it for themselves. We have asked the hostel authorities to provide them material time to time so they can continue their practice and if possible they can market their products later on.

Apart from 20 direct participants in this project, almost 50 people were part of it in different capacities (CDGK management, support staff of hostel, material purchasing, iACT management, girls’ families and friends in school). It was a great experience for the volunteers as well as they got the opportunity to teach for the first time.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Zahira Health Clinic

Narrated by Zahira Saleem:

There aren’t adequate health facilities available to the people in Sahiwal. The only hospital in Sahiwal is “Civil hospital” but because of the increasing number of patients and deteriorating medical conditions, the sick are often referred to private hospitals in Lahore. Private hospitals are expensive for most of the people to afford; hence the sick don’t seek medical assistance at all. As a result, more people are dyeing of common aliments.

We decided to tackle this problem because during the “Active Citizens” workshop we realised that we have to find a solution to our problems ourselves. No one else is going to come and help. We need to do self-help.

Therefore, my group members and I decided to form a health clinic where people can get check-ups, treatments, advices and medicines for free. I discussed the idea with my parents and they allowed me to go ahead with it.
My friends and I then found a space where we could open a free health clinic.

We asked our doctor friends to help in the health clinic explaining them the reasons behind starting this project. They happily agreed to help around in the evening.

Till date, we have three doctors and a friend who is doing medicine working for the health clinic for free. We’ve treated many patients of our local community for various aliments.

We plan to have this health up and running for a year at least.

Tipu Sultan School

Narrated by Ms Rizwana Tabassum:

The literacy rate in Sahiwal is lower as compared to other parts of Punjab province. Literacy is the basic and the most important thing which will take the country forward, however, the younger generation –in whose hands lie the future of this country – is deprived of this blessing.

During the Active Citizens workshop, we became aware of this deprivation (it never occurred to us before that many young children are uneducated and that if they are provided with education, it’ll do them and our country good) after we started noticing our vicinities.

It was during the workshop that I conceptualised the idea of having a local school where under-privileged children can be taught so they can render themselves useful for Pakistan.

My group mates agreed with the idea and together, we hired an empty building which we named as “Tipu Sultan School.”

Currently, we have 15 pupils enrolled Tipu Sultan school who are receiving very basic education free of cost. My group mates and I teach the students Urdu and English languages and things like writing their names, alphabets, counting, poetry, greetings etc. We teach them how to sit with elders, how to talk, how to treat visitors at home and to be kind to their younger siblings.
Tipu Sultan School will remain in function for minimum a year’s time

This is our way of helping our Pakistani siblings and in turn doing well for the country.