Transforming Dream into Reality A Blessing in Disguise –Nusrat Fatima – District Skardu, Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan
Resident of Wahdat Colony Safdarabad in District Skardu, Nusrat Fatima wishfully dreamed of establishing a school in order to the educational needs of the children of the area. But her family’s poor ﬁnancial conditions proved a stumbling block to transform her dream into reality.
Originally hailing from Gilgit where she taught as Vice Principal in a private school for several years, Nusrat Fatima moved to Wahdat Colony Safdarabad after her marriage. “Soon after my relocation, my passion for teaching increased manifold as I saw more children not getting education due to poverty”, Nusrat Fatima says, adding that the government-run schools are situated far away from the locality while the locals cannot afford to pay for educational expenses of their children in private schools.
In July 2020, Nusrat Fatima came to know about Alight Pakistan’s initiative of establishing non-formal schools for the out-of-school children. She contacted Alight’s Literacy Mobilizers who visited Wahdat Colony Safdarabad for the establishment of non-formal school as there were enough out-of-school children.
A Village Education Committee was formed, which identiﬁed the OOSC in in collaboration with National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) – the implementing partner of Alight. Through its donor Central Asia Institute, Alight has been helping more children and particularly girls to attend school while working with the government and local communities to create child-friendly schools in Gilgit and Skardu.
Nusrat Fatima grabbed the opportunity with both hands as Alight offered her necessary support for the establishment of a non-formal school in the area. It was due to her and Village Education Committee efforts, as many as 56 out-of-school boys and girls enrolled in the school within short span of time.
“It is no less than a miracle. I always wanted to establish a school for children but did not have the ﬁnancial resources,” says Nusrat Fatima, adding that teaching has been her passion.
She went on to say that most of the people in the area belong to the labour class and they have very scarce ﬁnancial resources to support education of their children. “The daily wagers make ends meet with diﬃculty. They cannot save money from their earnings to meet the schooling expenses of their children”, Nusrat Fatima says, adding that most of the children could not get education as poverty forced them into working and minion jobs at tender age.
“I have no other objective but to impart teaching to the children of the area. Now the locals are happily willing to send their children to school as it does not cost any additional expenses”, Nusrat Fatima says.
Nusrat Fatima visits the areas adjacent to the school and convince the parents to send their children to school where they get free books, uniforms, bags and stationery.