It always seems impossible until it’s done
This is the story of a community effort for education as told by Ms. Gultasira, the teacher at Harpandas Non-Formal School in Chillas. The school that catered for some 120 students was initially managed by a single teacher and it used a single room in a house of a community member, Mr. Murtaza. To begin with, Alight Pakistan had to provide the school with all necessary stationery. But after few months, the school management stopped asking for more materials. Ms. Gultasira explains what happened to the school.
“The community is now helping a lot. All the people got united to support the school and each week they donate some amount of money according to their ﬁnancial ability. It is due to efforts of Alight Pakistan that the attitude of local people towards the school changed so much.
When we ﬁrst visited the school, we gathered all the parents, teachers, School Management Committee members and related Alight staff, and we talked how the whole area could act as one community to help run the school along with Alight team. We could do it ourselves, without depending on someone’s help. We discussed how education and common effort for school could help build a strong community and create a good, educated and helpful society. The parents were very helpful, kind and considerate towards such noble cause.
Compared to other schools in Chillas region, ours had the largest number of students. It was diﬃcult to accommodate them in a single room. Mr. Murtaza, in whose house we used to study, is a man of great wisdom and kind heart. He is a government servant with a mere salary of Rs. 25k – 30k per month. He is head of a large family and has to feed his many children. But he was so generous as to donate his whole home to Alight so that children of his village could get education and excel in life and serve the society. He didn’t want anyone to be deprived of basic education as he was deprived in his young age due to poor economic conditions and no concept of education in the region. He donated his house out of a pure heart for education for the sake of Allah Almighty. We want more kind, selﬂess people like him in the world so that our world could become better place.
The new school building has many rooms for classrooms and proper sanitary facilities like multiple number of washrooms. These were now available on previous campus. Alight Pakistan supplied the school with basic things like furniture, books, charts etc. But the whole community is now also helping not only in terms of ﬁnancial support, but also ensuring that all the children from our remote area get a chance to study at Alight’s NFS.
The school opening in our village has spurred an enormous change in the community. It has not only contributed to spreading education, but also changing people’s minds and perception towards education and it facilitated society building efforts. People learned how they can act together to develop their community and not solely depend on others or wait for government to do something. Alight has been successful in their mission of educating young minds but also in bringing a societal change – something that was deemed impossible became a reality.