Teach for Pakistan

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Over these blogs we have repeatedly discussed the need for student activism and community work. (examples here and here). The biggest reason why to get involved in such ventures is to make use of one’s abilities given to him/her by the creator to serve humanity and get the best out of both worlds, besides this we have an obligation to our society to payback what has been invested on us. Reaching NUST is not a privilege that everyone enjoys as college education is still a rare commodity in Pakistan. Students in US and other developed countries regularly volunteer to spend time in developing countries with organizations like Mercy Corps, PeaceCorps and UN organizations.

Teach for Pakistan is a local chapter of global organization Teach for All. Its a highly acknowledged effort across the globe and both employers and graduate schools look at students getting involved with these ventures with respect and give them due preference. Education is consistently one of the biggest problem of Pakistan and requires exemplary efforts from all of us to eradicate illiteracy and lack of education. Men and women who rise up to take this challenge deserve due appreciation from us. In this post we are going to present the Teach for Pakistan fellows from NUST who make us all proud each time they go out there in their schools to make a difference and provide quality education to the students. These fellows took a challenge and dared to go against the usual trend of finding a corporate job in favor of creating a difference early in their career.

Meet Shakeel Ahmed who is the graduate of College of E&ME, EE, 2011 and is the Teach for Pakistan fellow:

In his own words, lets listen to his story:

I used to think that everyone must cherish the carefree days of their childhood. We all have someday basked in the sunlight and wondered down the memory lane, haven’t we? What we have not considered is the circumstances that take us back so often. Circumstances that might change should one fall pray to the social disparity that is so deeply ingrained in our system.
With hopes of change I started my journey with Teach for Pakistan. Undergoing six week long training based on the Teaching as Leadership model structured by Teach for America, I joined my designated school in a small town Keamari. A school with 500 kids studying in the

evening shift, I was assigned class 6th, 7th and 8th science based on my educational background. I remember my first day in the designated classes; classes filled with more than 60 students. After a brief introduction I inquired the students about the curriculum they had covered in the past 3 months in their respective classes. The findings were shocking as the students knew nothing about the subject. Adding to the misery, the students had no understanding of English language and little knowledge of Urdu. Other problems like child labour, corporeal punishment, lack of facilities and poverty unfolded as root causes that have added to the predicament. However faced with all these problems, the kids in destitute still hope to change things around. They hope for a better future, a future that out flawed system would make almost impossible to achieve. I remember a student telling a fellow Teacher with tears in his eyes.

Sir: “I sell balloons by the Sea Shore. I don’t want to grow up and sell balloons.”

This is how my journey as a teacher at Hatim Ali Alvi School started. A school with more than 500 students with aspirations and dreams. If only the stones of social disparity would not break them to pieces. Join hands to save their future.

Meet Ahmed Jawad who is the other fellow from NUST at Teach for Pakistan (De 29 CE, E&ME College):

Ahmed Jawad

Shakeel and Ahmad’s joint effort is this drive at their school against social problems and creating awareness about them. With this video they contested for the Design for Change contest by Safeguard.

Design for Change

Both Shakeel and Ahmed need your help in another venture. They are trying to setup a computer based lab for these school children to solve the problems of education through technology bridging the divides. They need all possible help from you. They need content, software, tutorials and if possible some hardware to execute their initiative. This is an exciting and wonderful opportunity where we can replicate the projects from all over the world through our NUST fellows. A great list of similar projects is available here. You guys can spare your time and resources to learn and replicate by helping them out.

We further wish that we see more fellows at Teach for Pakistan in coming years from NUST! Go NUSTians.

He is an alumnus of NUST (CEME, Electrical) 2009 Batch and Cornell University (M.Eng Systems Engineering) Class of 2011. Uzair has been an active member of student societies and EME Alumni Association. He was the co-founder of EME Environment Club and Society of ICTs (at EME College). During his undergrad he has been a correspondent of the EME college's fortnightly magazine 'campbuzz' and currently he is on the editorial panel of the EME Alumni Newsletter. Uzair is also an alumnus of ITU Telecom Asia Youth Forum (2008, Bangkok) and a proud NUSTian, who represented Pakistan at the forum. After the forum, he has been working with the youth around the globe to build a human network (h-network.org). He has also been blogging for ITU (UN's sister organization) on school and community connectivity through ICTs. He is also a Project Manager at Possibilities Pakistan (a platform for Pakistani youth to discuss study abroad prospects). He can be reached at ms2346(at)cornell(.)edu

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