NVP, a Volunteer partner at 4th Karachi International Water Conference

The 4th Karachi International Water Conference – 4KIWC was organized by Hisaar Foundation on November 26,27, where NVP supported as a volunteer partner, and assigned 16 volunteers for the activity. Project Manager NVP, Shahzad Hooda was present on the spot, and also gave a sound bite to TNN (Television News Network), which claims to be Pakistan’s leading news network, is a pioneer in multimedia news services
 
 
Click the link below to watch his soundbite
 

Turning environmental problem into a business prospectus; an opportunity for young entrepreneurs

Pakistan generates about 48.5 million tons of solid waste a year, which has been increasing more than 2 percent annually. Like other developing countries, Pakistan lacks waste management infrastructure, creating serious environmental problems. Most municipal waste is either burned, dumped or buried on vacant lots, threatening the health and welfare of the general population. The Government of Pakistan (GOP) estimates that 87,000 tons of solid waste is generated per day, mostly from major metropolitan areas. All major cities face enormous challenges on how to manage urban waste. Bureaucratic hurdles, lack of urban planning, inadequate waste management equipment, and low public awareness contribute to the problem.

Bushra Rizvi is a social and environmental activist. She is a member of the Citizens for a Clean Karachi (C.C.K) which is a volunteer group currently engaged in creating public awareness about the hazards of plastic, especially single-use plastic shoppers. Bushra attended NVP’s orientation session on 7th September 2019 and shared her experience with us:

“The issue of garbage has assumed epic proportions in Karachi. It is strewn all over the city and when you examine it closely you’ll find most of it comprises single-use plastics like polyethylene shopping bags. When we throw plastic shopping bags carelessly they fly in the air, choke off sewerage lines, strangle marine life when they enter the sea or rivers, give off toxic fumes when burnt on empty plots or landfills, thereby creating a hazard for all life forms. Our city is in a pollution quagmire because no-one wants to accept responsibility or take ownership of the situation, including the city’s civic authorities and its public or residents.  Nobody wants to come forward to take action to fix the problem! This is where our group comes in; CCK is working to create public awareness that we, the Karachi-ites, are responsible for the problem – it’s our garbage – so we have to fix the problem and find a solution.”

To avoid this alarming condition in other cities, a ban was imposed this year in Islamabad and in Gilgit-Hunza on single-use plastic bags. We approached the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency last year and requested them to give the issue a priority and to help solve Karachi’s plastic problem.

“Having researched the subject extensively, I’m now keen to work with university students, especially engineers  and biochemists, who can develop environmental friendly packaging to replace the commonly used cellophane wrap, polystyrene packs and plastic boxes so that ultimately we can rid the planet of plastic waste”

To create public awareness on a mass level, we launched our Facebook and Instagram pages where we share tips and articles with our audience on how to reduce the use of plastic in their daily life. Our page address for both Facebook and Instagram is the same; it is : //citizensforacleankhi.

We’ve conducted awareness sessions at poor, middle and elite class schools like Manzil Educational Organization, the Kiran Foundation, Karachi Grammar School etc as the problem affects all strata of our society.

Example of single-use plastic

“People sometimes ask ‘What can we do in our capacity?’ I advise them to just abandon the use of plastic : refuse to take shoppers from stores, carry your own cloth bag or tokri when out shopping , carry your own glass or steel reusable containers to bring home take-out food. This is a slow strategy but it will eventually affect demand and prompt businesses engaged in plastic manufacturing to switch over to other, non-plastic avenues for which there’s more demand. Demand and supply motivate economic and investment decisions, as we all know.

The whole world has woken up to the hazards of plastic.  Many countries have pledged and put into place legislation banning plastics. The world has realized the urgency and the need to act NOW otherwise it will be an even bigger problem in the near future. Fifty years down the line, planet Earth – our only home – will be wrapped up in layers of plastic rather than fossils. Future generations will be horrified when they dig up the layers of dust that will settle on our civilization after we’re gone; they’ll wonder what kind of people we were to have so carelessly trashed our own  home!

These days cancer, diabetes and lung diseases are rampant; one of the reasons for this is plastic pollution and garbage corrupting our food chain. If we test our blood, many of us will find that it contains micro plastics (very tiny particles of plastic) from contaminated food”.

Bushra, how we can solve this problem?

Our research guides us towards certain alternative options. I’d like to share them here with you:

  1. Inspire students to think about this problem. This environmental problem can be treated as an opportunity by young entrepreneurs to come up with ideas to launch a business that solves this issue such as alternative packaging.
  2. Don’t keep your expectations pinned on the government. Stand up, come out of your drawing rooms to take action for yourself and your children.
  3. Although we are surrounded by plastic products like mobile phones, eyewear etc., we must switch wherever possible to non-plastic materials that are derived from nature directly.
  4. You can use baskets made of date palm leaves or cane; keep such baskets in your car, or a wrapped up cloth bag in your motorbike’s storage space under the seat. A cloth bag is very handy and easy to carry anywhere for shopping.
  5. Say “No” to plastic bags when you go shopping.
  6. Citizens need to sacrifice the convenience provided by plastics for a much higher, long term benefit. They need to unite and build pressure on corporations engaged in plastic manufacturing and packaging, on authorities that allow them to do so and on authorities responsible for waste management/disposal and on the plastic mafia to abandon poisoning the environment.”

 

Read more about CCK:

CCK is focused on reduction of plastic bags at the moment but their long term goal is to work for the improvement of the environment and a positive climate change.

https://www.facebook.com/citizensforacleankhi/

How Internship experience helps in writing thesis?

Misbah-Ur-Rahman is a BBA qualified from Sindh Madressa-tul-Islam University (SMIU) with his majors in Finance. He plans to go for Masters in Finance & Investment from Karachi University Business School (KUBS).

Misbah joined us at Street To School as Internee. In a discussion with Misbah, he mentioned about how he got motivated to work for a community institution?

“At the final semester of my course, I got guidance from my mentor, that I should spend time to learn and relearn more about my subject – Accounting and Finance, and I should engage myself to a kind of community service as it gives more freedom of doing work and leading projects. Further my mentor said that since I was going through an age where I need to strengthen my knowledge base so I need to work as a volunteer, this would help me tremendously to develop my own portfolio, before I go to apply for a job!

Misbah expressed his pleasure while working as a Finance Associate at Street to School. He not only did the compilation of financial data but got opportunity to reconcile records and develop financial reports.

Internship at STS gave him hands-on experience to learn about financial model applied in Education sector. Misbah learnt and applied this learning into thesis of his study programme.

As mentioned by Misbah about the topic of thesis he was given: ‘Impact of Compensation/Financial performance on non-profit organizations’ donation’. This internship project let him study a financial model of not-for-profit sector. The work is directly related to his thesis requirements. The research work is all he did by gathering and compiling financial information of Street To School.

“Now I am ready to produce a project-report based on the rich experience I gained during Internship at STS.”

 

In conversation with Zeeshan and Ashraf – Myths and facts about Intellectual disability

Syed Muhammad Ashraf is a student at International School of Choueifat- Abu Dhabi. During his short trip to Pakistan, owing to summer vacations, he wanted to make his presence count in Pakistan. In pursuit of helping the deprived, and to find the right channel, Ashraf knocked NVP!

It was a Wednesday morning, when he walked in at NVP office to have one-to-one meeting. Ashraf was of the view to volunteer his time and make his skills productive. Keeping in view his choice of work NVP team offered him an assignment at Dewa Academy for the role of Academic Coordinator.

Ashraf met the CEO and team at Dewa Academy. He was assigned to conduct a class ‘Sunshine’ designed for adults of up to 22 years. These kids are active in doing their routine work like taking food, running cycle, playing games etc. However, they are a bit slow learner when it comes to reading and studying.

Ashraf was appointed to assist his instructor during physical therapy exercise or checking their work in class. Zeeshan Soomro, incharge of autism unit at Dewa, guides Ashraf about mentality of these children, as they accept love and generosity instead of coercive way of teaching. It helps in increasing their ability to learn and improve reading habits.

In a conversation with Ashraf:

Kindly brief us how you adjusted yourself within Dewa academy?

In the beginning, students treated me as a stranger and they tend to get frightened, every time I tried to mingle with them. However, with a consistent effort, I brought them all in a comfort zone with the help of engaging activities and making them enjoy their time.

I had meaningful time with these kids. They taught me how to cope up with challenges and face the real world. No doubt, I found NVP a professional platform where a volunteer can offer services.

Ashraf’s volunteer supervisor, Zeeshan Soomro, who started to work at Dewa Academy 12 years back as an Art Instructor, says:

In order to train students, we need to go to the level of that student. If a student is of age 3.5 years then I have to picture myself the same to deal with him/her. I look after their hygiene problem, sex awareness, communication, socialization, cognitive development, self-help, and ADL (activity of daily living skills). We also need to focus on child’s sensory integration. In short, all efforts are to develop the civic sense in a student to behave consciously in the society.

How NVP can be of your help?

We do not necessarily need professionals. Rather, we need people who have desire to work with special children. Offering these kids food, guiding them to drink water or playing with them is also a skill. These kids are basically visual learners.

We need volunteers who have intention to serve the community, should be of creative mind and artistic. We highly recommend volunteers who join us, should not have favoritism or strong friendship with these kids, as they get disturb when a volunteer signs off his/her assignment.

A Youngest volunteer who left behind a great sense of inspiration

A volunteer by any means is praiseworthy and have the right to get acknowledged. But a few out of many volunteers are true gems; they go one step forward aiming to bring about significant difference in the society.

NVP deploys volunteers round the year. Some of them give a deep touch and turn out to be more actively involved. Few among them are helpful in bringing differential impact while others stay longer to pledge their time in multiple activities. Volunteers like Tooba Shams are considered to be among those star volunteers.

Tooba is an A-level student at ALCOTT College. She found NVP through Facebook. In a quest to contribute for community work, she registered herself as volunteer. We matched her profile to connect her at Street To School (STS).

NVP liaised with STS to facilitate the volunteers during their term examination. STS believes in providing quality education with zero tolerance on cheating. In order to revive the legacy of STS, NVP volunteers were assigned for the activity to serve as invigilator examination.

The drill was to conduct exams; from supervising till preparing results, a week-long activity that required volunteers to show their spirits and remain vigilant throughout the activity.

What drives this youngest girl a desire to serve community?

In the image, Tooba can be seen on very left accompanied by her mother, Farhat Horera. Farhat has been supportive for her daughter’s passion of serving the underprivileged. While in conversation with Tooba, she mentioned that her own exams were near to date, despite the fact she was still ready to take part in this short-term activity.

Community needs help. It’s you and me who can support them with whatever we have, no matter very little!

Being the youngest volunteer among all, Tooba remained punctual and showed her sincerity towards the assignment throughout the spell of exams. She was so into it that she couldn’t miss the result day which was, nonetheless, not mandatory for volunteers to attend. She exchanged words with parents and cherished her accomplishing moments with students of school.

National Volunteer Programme is overwhelmed to have contribution from these young and devoted individuals who is exemplary for our youth, specifically girls who engage themselves to mankind service despite of commitment towards their own study programs.

Run Together – Win Together

About Special Olympics Pakistan (SOP)

For over 23 years, Special Olympics Pakistan has used sports as a way to fight for the rights of people with an intellectual disability. Through the common and simple vehicle of sports, Special Olympics has helped bring about attitudinal change in the way people with intellectual disabilities view themselves and are viewed by others, replacing exclusion and fear with respect, acceptance, and inclusion.

4th Annual Unified Marathon

Special Olympics Pakistan organized its 4th Annual Unified Marathon this year on February 17, 2019, after receiving an overwhelming response in the last three years. This marathon is launched each year to celebrate inclusion and cherish the spirit of togetherness fighting stigma and discrimination for the differently-abled people.

How National Volunteer Programme came in the story?

National Volunteer Programme was contacted by SOP team to deliver a group of sincere volunteers performing duties as Event Management Associate. The responsibilities included registration of participants, keeping a check on the timeline of activities, crowd management, and media management.

Volunteers were given tasks parallel to their expertise and interest. Let’s hear expressions from volunteers about how did they feel while assigned at SOP’s Unified Marathon!

  • It gave me hands-on experience of event management at large scale. I would highly encourage people to volunteer.
  • I was accountable for the safety of the crowd, looking after all the safety measures to maintain a smooth flow of the event. I really look forward to working with NVP on such projects. My duty was to make sure the entry of registered participants. The activity inspired me much in building up relationships with community people and expand professional network. A proud NVPian!
  • The volunteer opportunity helped me to groom my communication and planning skills. Overall it was a wonderful experience!
  • It developed a team-work spirit and learning about how the not-for-profit industry works. A wholesome experience.

TAHA TAHIR
Project Manager
Special Olympics Pakistan

“NVP played an important role in supporting our Annual Unified Marathon 2019 and we are proud of having them on board for the Special Olympics Movements.”