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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mentoring greatness

Asma Farhad teaches at a popular university in Lahore. When discussing the state of education in Pakistan and how it can be transformed, Aasma’s passion for education shines trough: “As an academic, I believe reforms alone cannot provide a solution, our education system rather requires a whole new revolution. I resolve to introduce a novel learning experience to those who need education most”.

Recently Aasma helped her students renovate a computer lab for less privileged young people. With the help of cash donations they also refurbished the faulty equipment. A brief description of the project supplied by Aasma:

We ran a pilot project in the University of Central Punjab, Lahore in August 2012, and experimented with the semi-literate children from slums and very poor economic back ground. Ranging from 8 to 13 years, all these children attended a six days long workshop on using computers as an e-learning tool. To our surprise children who could not even spell their names perfectly were able to use Google search, Google translator, find and play educational games and videos and learnt from them, entered correct URLs, receive and send emails too. That too in just six days!

We also observed that these children did not only enjoy learning, they were stimulated to learn more and often preferred to work independently. This made us work more seriously towards our second goal i.e. to provide free of cost computer and internet access to these children.

For this, our group initiated “donate a computer” drive. We discussed with our friends, family and acquaintances to donate old used computer CPUs, monitors, mouse, wires and key boards. We learnt about an institution in Iqbal Town, Lahore through a friend that provides free of cost education to children with very weak economic back ground. Upon meeting them we learnt that their abandoned computer lab had a few computers lying there.

Our volunteers renovated the lab, repaired old computers, replaced worn out spare parts with the workable ones. The lab is now operational and continues broadening horizons for the young fellows studying there.

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