by Aruba Adil
KARACHI: She is too young to think of her future but she is too under privileged to not think of her future. Naseema, 10, a fisherman’s daughter thinks that education is the only solution to her sorry life.
A resident of Rehri Goth, a fishing village by the sea, she accompanies her mother to work every day at a school run by a not-for-profit organization, The Citizen Foundation (TCF).
It was here that she saw a beacon of hope. She watched students read, study and strive to become better human beings. She was convinced that only education could pull her out of her present state.
“She thinks that education is the way to transform lifestyles and of course, provide a better future for coming generations”, said Farah Fazli, an official at TCF.
Condition of education
Pakistan’s literacy rate ranking is 180th in the list of 221 countries. The literacy rate eligibility criteria demands that a citizen be able to write his name correctly to be included in the educated class of the country.
According to the Global Competitive report 2014-2015, Pakistan has one of the lowest enrolment rates in the world (132nd). It is the estimated that almost a quarter of children do not go to primary school in Pakistan.A recent report presented by UNESCO states that only three percent students reach colleges and higher levels of education, out of which only one percent manage to graduate.
With this bleak state of public education in Pakistan, private institutions play their role in providing a supporting shoulder to the crumbling education statistics.
Among these not -for-profit-organizations is an initiative by TCF called the “Aagahi Adult Literacy Programme”. It is a community development initiative that targets out of school children who have passed the formal age of enrolling into school.
Aagahi classes are held twice a year during January to May and September – December. The Urdu literacy module “Jugnoo Sabaq” comprises of four workbooks, three to teach phonetics based recognition of sounds and basic numeracy. The books are taught by trained instructors; two hours a day, and six days a week over a period of four months.
By the end of this programme, a student is able to read and write in Urdu and can do basic mathematics.
Naseema is enrolled in this program to build her learning skills for admission in 3rd grade. She loves reading books.
At the heart of TCF is the constant flow of funds from philanthropists—both overseas Pakistanis and those living here.
In the month of Ramzan these not-for-profit organizations invest in print and television ads to reach out to more people for Zakaat. The public trusts them more than government organizations which have a knack for embezzling funds.
“We do advertise in Razan through billboards, print, TV which is mostly sponsored. Also we reach out directly to our donors,” Said Fazli.
Donations in Ramzan
In the month of Ramazan when the spiritual sentiments are high, advertisement hits their mark. They raise donations from telecommunication advertisements to NGO’s propagating their goal through TVCs.
The TVCs are mainly aimed to the Zakat which is the third pillar of Islam. It is an Islamic principle that has been observed rigorously in the month of Ramazan. The personal sacrifice of giving one’s possessions, no matter how small, for the sake of helping needy is rendered as a blessing. It means purifying their souls and wealth.
Zakat constitutes 2.5% of the wealth of a person. People often observe this custom in this holy month because it is believed for every good deed a person will be rewarded twice.
Fazli added that TCF strictly maintains a separate account for Zakat funds. These funds are utilized strictly in accordance with the ‘Shariah rules governing their use’.
Naseema will take the first step towards a better life in April when she will start school officially.