National Volunteer Programme celebrated World Health Day in collaboration with Zindagi Trust at the SMB Fatimah Jinnah Girls School. The day was proudly celebrated by hosting a Mental Health Workshop, with a theme ‘Depression: Let’s Talk’, on Friday 7th April 2017. The purpose of this workshop was to provide an opportunity for teachers of our registered schools to take part in a discussion on ‘How to Nurture Students’ Mental Health’. Teachers from 11 schools including Rana Liaquat Craftsmen’s Colony – RLCC, Zindagi Trust (Khatoon-e-Pakistan and SMB Fatima Jinnah Girls School), four campuses of Behbud Association, Justuju Welfare Organization School, Nobel Academy, Habib Public School as well as The Garage School attended and actively participated in the event.
The special guest speaker for the workshop was Dr. Farhan Rauf– a public health physician & researcher, associated with NVP as a volunteer consultant. His thoroughly interactive session aimed to engage the teachers in informative discussions where the teachers were able to voice out their opinions and experiences so that others could learn from it too. During the workshop, Dr. Farhan Rauf took the liberty to measure the teachers’ average stress levels through a stress test and to inform them about the need to maintain their stress levels for a healthy life.
Through this event, teachers were able to identify significant signs of depression in students and ways to overcome them. The lecture emphasized upon the mental health issues faced by students when starting or changing school, making new friends, going through puberty and preparing for exams etc. The rest of the discussion was based on identifying, preventing and managing mental health disturbances in young students.
This was an eye-opening session for the teachers who were previously unaware of the severity of depression and anxiety faced by the students in the classroom. Many of the teachers were very glad to have attended this workshop while Ms. Nida Habib, a teacher at Justuju Welfare Organization stated:
“We are conducting the Workshop of Teachers on Saturday 15th April 2017. This will help our teachers to analyse the stress level in them and will help our students to reduce the stress level and focus more on academics”.
Overall it was a highly informative and much-needed workshop to talk about mental health issues and to remove the stigmas associated with it, in order to create a mentally and physically healthy world for everyone. NVP aimed to reach as many people as possible through this initiative and was indirectly responsible for spreading the message across to more than 9000 students under the 80+ teachers that were present for the workshop.
Ms. Shahnaz Hunzai, the Project Head at Zindagi Trust SMB Fatima Jinnah Govt. Girls School applauded the collaborated efforts of National Volunteer Programme and Dr. Farhan Abdul Rauf by saying:
"Glad that we have volunteers like Dr. Farhan and organizations like NVP who step forward in conducting workshops on much-needed topics that our teachers were previously unaware of."
We are grateful to Miss. Shahnaz Hunzai from Zindagi Trust for providing us with the premises and other assistance for us to successfully host the Mental Health Workshop. We wish to host many such events with many other beneficiary institutions in the near future.
"I would definitely like if NVP arranges such informative workshops in the future too with the topic being according to teachers and students mental interaction." - Miss Samia Shahid, Urdu Teacher at Behbud Secondary School, Kalapul.
"I liked this informative session. It helped us learn how to fight stress and to feel better." - Miss Darakshan Anjum, Higher Secondary Teacher at Zindagi Trust SMB Fatima Jinnah Govt. School
"Such informative workshops help teachers to understand the various methods of teaching." - Miss Irrum Shakeel, Computer Teacher at Behbud Secondary School, Kalapul.
"We want NVP to arrange many more informative workshops on health and student related topics such as child personality development, cheating culture, parenting styles and teacher behaviour." - Sana Farooqui, RLCC Coordinator of Outreach Program
The Ra'ana Liaquat Craftmen's Colony (RLCC) Youth Career Fair
“Volunteers with respective industry experience proved to be of immense help for our students. We wish to affirm this relationship by inviting volunteers again in our next academic year -Hamida Rahman Khokar (Project Administrator)
Ra’ana Liaquat Craftsmen’s Colony (RLCC), a partner Beneficiary Institution of National Volunteer Programme held a Career Fair on the 26th of February 2017. This programme aimed to empower the youth by creating awareness and provide career opportunities, scholarships and skills training programmes. The event was held to allow all grades from class VII to Intermediate level and surrounding areas interested community members and parents, to gain career related guidance and scholarship opportunities by visiting the exhibits of invited partner institutions. The institutions that took part in the event besides NVP were: Hashoo Foundation, DIMC, Hunar Foundation, Hands Org., Institute of Clinical Psychology, Aga Khan University, Allama Iqbal Open University, Aman Foundation, Dr. Essa Laboratory.
The National Volunteer Programme inducted volunteers as Career Counselors for the event. NVP volunteers, Majid Akhtar, Fida Muhammad, Kashif Qasim, Muhammad Arslan and Jawad Khan Unar, with majors in the field of Banking, IT, Media services and the Armed forces, shared their experience with secondary students of RLCC and guided them along their career path. Not only did the volunteers guide the students but they also spent time counseling the parents where they engaged them in one-to-one conversations.
Overall it was a splendid event and NVP looks forward to participating in many such events in the future!
I worked at DoctHERs as a finance officer; my role was to basically take care of the audit work, since a lot of the funding is from USaid and other agencies, so they need an audited record of where the funding is being utilized. My experience with them was in two parts, the first one was relevant to my qualification and some professional development. The other part was being part of a team which is making a significant progress in providing quality, accessible healthcare to the marginalized communities. Since not everyone can afford quality healthcare, I think this is a very noble cause. It allows us volunteers to pay back and help our community.
I feel blessed that I was given the opportunity to learn and grow with the hardworking staff of DoctHers, I learned a great deal about the finance function under the supervision of the finance manager, Mr.Sarfaraz, who was very cooperative and supportive throughout my term. Not only did I grow as a professional, I got the opportunity to observe and become familiar with the culture of a start-up which is well on its way to success. I would like to specially thank Makkiya Jawed and Mr. Sarfaraz for their support throughout my internship. It was a joy working and spending time with Dr.Sara, Dr.Iffat, Mehak, Zohaib, Adil, Asif and Khalid bhai. I will InshaAllah stay in touch.
Farhan Awan - Volunteer Finance Officer at DoctHERs
Greetings everyone, My name is Maham Saeed and I am a basic agent for a positive change in Pakistan, which I aim to accomplish through volunteering, supported by NVP-National Volunteer Programme. Volunteering gives me immense satisfaction to serve people, at the same time i am happy to get away from my routine job and indulge in something that helps me relax.
While it’s true that the more you volunteer, the more benefits you’ll experience, volunteering doesn’t have to involve a long-term commitment or take a huge amount of time out of your busy day but this is the time to play a vital role in bringing positive change in Pakistan.
Zindagi Trust was the second NGO where NVP had sent me as an English teacher and the time i spent there was priceless, it gave me the feeling that I was an unsung hero to somebody somewhere and made me feel as if i was making a difference and I personally liked being a positive force in these children's lives who oftentimes had no other positive role models. It was an unmatched feeling of utmost satisfaction and accomplishment. We all should join hands to empower and educate Pakistan and be the change we want to see in others! Thank you NVP for this amazing opportunity.
To begin with, I find myself to be extremely lucky that I got a chance to volunteer at the two most renowned beneficiary institutions. I volunteered at the SMB Fatima Jinnah Govt Girls School as a part of the Zindagi Trust foundation. I have always been really concerned about the educational sector of our country which is lagging behind in many aspects. I feel that education is the most important driving factor in order for a society to progress. I volunteered as a biology instructor for grade 9. I had an amazing time and I really enjoyed teaching them. The girls were extremely responsive and seemed keen to learn and to gain knowledge. I felt really happy to see that these young tulips are determined to move forward and achieve their goals despite of the obstacles they face on their way considering the fact they belong to poor socioeconomic backgrounds.
I tried my best to utilize all my skills and deliver them as much of my knowledge as possible within a short period of time. The girls were all ambitious and cooperative. I feel that these youth are the future of our country and if given the necessary resources and time, they can bring a positive change and eliminate many problem faced by our society. I feel that 'if you give fish to a person, you feed him for once, but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for lifetime.'
So, teaching and spreading knowledge can eliminate many problems including poverty and hunger.
Secondly, I volunteered at the Docthers which is a Renowned beneficiary institution related to the health sector. I worked as a research assistant and became aware of the health conditions in the rural areas. It was a unique experience for me. Docthers is doing a great job by connecting female doctors to the patients in the rural areas. People in the rural areas do not have access to quality healthcare. Using the telemedicine technology, Docthers serves to eradicate this problem. I feel proud that I got a chance to help them in some way. I visited their eye camp in model colony malir, and helped them in giving free eye checkups to the poor people residing there.
I couldn't have found a better way to spend my winter vacations.
Lastly, I would like to thank NVP for giving me this chance, as without their support I wouldn't be able to connect with these two institutions. I would like to thank NVP for recoginizng my skills and connecting me to the institutions that suits me best.
Zindagi Trust is an NGO, primarily concerned with education. It is about school reform program. Currently we have adopted two schools, Khatoon-e- Pakistan and SMB Fatima Jinnah. In both the schools, to start with reform, first of all they consolidated the school. This is because within one premises, they were 8 different schools running and within those 8 different schools they had 8 different sets of problems. As soon as you enter SMB Fatima Jinnah, you will be pleasantly surprised to see a nice environment which was not previously so. If we sure you the before and after pictures, you can see the tremendous change in the environment of the school as well as academic achievements. We try our best to empower the children who come from very poor socio-economic backgrounds and from very low income families. This school provides a good environment for children facing multiple problems such as coming from broken homes or poor families. First of all we changed the textbooks; we brought Oxford books instead of government books especially in the core subjects like English, Maths etc. In this school we have 110 teachers from the government sector but we have almost 35 private teachers which includes subject coordinator, subject specialists etc. Zindagi Trust spends 15 Lac Rupees per month on this school to take care of its entire infrastructure. We have 25 janitorial staff and this is still not enough.
We have come a long way; the physical environment of this school was in a horrible condition before. The classrooms were completely dark and dirty, desks were broken and washrooms did not have doors. We have a before and after video which we show to everyone, including the parents so that they know how this school has progressed. We have hired private teachers for the KG section because we needed teachers who were experienced and who focused on early childhood learning.
At Zindagi Trust we have co-curricular activities such as with ‘AHUNG’ the organization that focuses on sexual and reproductive health education. It was very difficult to accept them in some of the schools but surprisingly in our school, the program penetrated so well. Now after the programme even our 3rd grade children know what ‘good touch ‘and what ‘bad touch’ is. So now even the small children are prepared to take care of themselves which is a very good thing.
At our school, we even have mind sports. Our children even know how to play chess; In 2014, the National Champion of Pakistan at school level, was a SMB Fatima Jinnah student. If the Sindh Chess Association arranges a program, then the first 3 positions will be from SMB Fatima Jinnah. So I think Zindagi Trust has empowered the girls, they are getting very confident and vocal. Sometimes even the teachers complain that you have empowered the girls so much that they sometimes don’t listen to the teachers. However, there should always be a balance; we don’t want our students to behave badly nor do we want them to be always pressurized by the teachers.
So in this way, Zindagi Trust is doing well; you can also come teach any of the subjects such as English, maths physics etc. Our children are very responsive, you would like them; they are active, they are dynamic kids and they want to learn. With volunteers they learn much better and we don’t receive any complaints from the children which we receive about their class teachers. Most of the class teachers are government teachers and they usually have their limitations. They aren’t able to teach the way youngsters like you can teach. There is a big difference from what was taught years ago and what is being taught today, so we find that youngsters are very versatile in their style and thinking which is good for the students. It’s very hard to convince government teachers to change their teaching styles and to ask the children more open-ended questions and more thought-provoking questions where they can express themselves freely.
Zindagi Trust has tried its best to train government teachers as well, however, it’s always great to have youngsters like you to come in and teach or train. I would like to quote an Ayaat from the Quran ‘Jis ney kisi eik shuks ko zindagi di, us ney puray kainaat ko zindagi di’.
Once the volunteers came in to teach, the children have started to love the subjects that they have previously hated. If the children are taught with enthusiasm and relate the subject to their everyday lives, they can make the children enjoy the subject more. I keep telling teachers to relate the learning to the child’s life. The volunteers may have been relating the subject to their lives which is why the children were more engrossed and engaged in the learning.
Apart from the academic curriculum we have a good sports ground where volunteers can come in and teach the children any kind of sports. We have a 10,000 books library, and a teacher’s resource centre with 35,000 books. However, the coordinators and teachers don’t know how to effectively utilize it and give maximum benefit to the children.
Hopefully you will find our staff very friendly and accommodating. You don’t have to commit a full week even; you can come in according to your own convenience such as 3 hours per week and we will accommodate you. You will have a great time teaching children with such different mind-sets.
We had the pleasure of assisting Zindagi Trust in conducting their Winter Education Camp, a five day programme held in last week of December 2016, to provide coaching sessions for students of grade 9 and 10 in special areas such as Biology, Mathematics and Physics.
National Volunteer Programme was in charge of recruiting volunteers based on a specified criterion and directing them to Ms. Shahnaz Hunzai and Ms. Anam Palla at Zindagi Trust who were supervising the entire program. We would like to thank our dedicated volunteers - Dr.Farhan Rauf, Farah Yasmin, Maham Saeed, Shoukat Iqbal, Zehra Nayani and Arvind Kumar, who were inducted on a very short notice, yet delivered their skills and time brilliantly to the children at Zindagi Trust.
We are extremely proud of all of them for conducting teaching sessions so enthusiastically and for making a very big impact on the children at Zindagi Trust. Ms. Shahnaz and Ms. Anam Palla were quite cooperative and accommodating; through swift communication with them, the Winter Education Camp was a complete success. We look forward to assisting many such programs with Zindagi Trust in the future as well.
2016 was a big year for NVP. 30 partners registered with us during the year. 2017 will be bigger and better as we have now started to recruit volunteers for many special events. As our network is continuously growing, we now have a volunteer opportunity in all areas of Karachi. As a volunteer don’t miss out on the opportunity to volunteer in your communities.
At NVP we believe everyone can volunteer. When we began the NVP, we began with the thought that each person has his or her own unique skill – thus strength to offer to volunteer, and the gap only exists in the lack information about the opportunities available. The NVP platform presents a way in managing these minor issues. Our platform provides the opportunities available and our social media platforms highlight the events which need volunteers.
Finding the right organization to volunteer with can be a time consuming and frustrating experience. To volunteer, you need to find out the organizations which you are interested in, learn when specific events are happening and where to report to help out. These challenges can be daunting for the would-be volunteer and many individuals are put off by these minor hurdles.
In the short time we have been running the NVP, many of our volunteers have taken advantage of the relevant opportunities which have sparked their interest. The satisfaction they have received from volunteering has led to volunteers returning and volunteering again after the completion of their period. Zohra Shah, Kashif Kazim, Majid Akhtar, Ali Akhtar and Kelton High were our first few volunteers. They returned to volunteer again in different institutions. To date, more than ¾ of our volunteers have returned to volunteer again – building a NVP family of dedicated volunteers.
Every month the opportunities available in the beneficiary institutions are uploaded on the Programmes portal of the platform. It saves the volunteer searching the individual websites of many beneficiary institutions for volunteer positions. It also solves the problem for many of our beneficiary institutions. Most of our NGO partners are already short staffed and focused on their work – thus they don’t have the time or resources to reach out to get volunteers involved. As a result, they often miss out on the support of willing and able individuals in their own communities.
When we started working with our beneficiary partners, they were a little dubious on the service we were providing. When we insisted on job descriptions, it seemed an added workload for them. When the volunteers turned up to work in theirs specific roles and completed the specific tasks – there was an appreciation of the streamlined opportunities it provided for meeting the multiple administrative needs for the institutions. This means, if they needed assistance in the financial department, a volunteer was able to help. If help was needed in social media – a volunteer was able to provide expertise. If a graphic designer was needed to design a newsletter – NVP matched a volunteer.
The new year is an excellent time to make an intention to make a difference. Registering online as a volunteer is the starting point. It makes you a part of the growing database of volunteers who volunteer when they have the time. It also means that you no longer have to go out and search for an opportunity. The opportunity comes to you!
The UN General Assembly has designated December 5th as the International Volunteer Day. It offers an opportunity for volunteer organizations and individual volunteers to make their contributions visible. In a message on a previous International Volunteer Day, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon commented on the values of volunteerism “Founded on the values of solidarity and mutual trust, volunteerism transcends all cultural, linguistic and and geographic boundaries” – this is especially the case when volunteering to help the disadvantaged.
NVP organized a Volunteer Workshop to commemorate the day at the Society for the Rehabilitation of Special Children (SRSC) in Karachi. The aim of the workshop was give volunteers who have an interest in volunteering with special children and community health, an opportunity to meet with the working institutions in Karachi. Representatives from Special Olympics Pakistan (SOP), Karachi Vocational Training Centre(KVTC) and DoctHers all gave a session about their institutions and the volunteer opportunities which exist in the institution.
The volunteers first visited the SRSC facilities – and met the students, teachers. Following a visit around SRSCs facilities, Daniyal Alvi, from SOP began the session, introduced the platform as a facility for teaching the mentally disabled sports. He highlighted how volunteers help increase the confidence of the special children as they provide an interaction mode with society. He added the value for volunteers as well – as special friendships have been built on the SOP platform as they play as a team alongside the special sportsmen.
The next guest, Amir Shahab – head coach at the KVTC, spoke of how mentoring by volunteers can help the physically and mentally disadvantaged ease into becoming a part of the workforce. He spoke of the value add of volunteering by telling his own story – he began by volunteering at KVTC more than 25 years ago. He said the good feeling and satisfaction he received with working with the students in the institution made him leave his job at a well known multinational corporate organization and joining as a full time employee.
The third speaker in the session was Dr Sara Saeed from DoctHers. DocHers is a newly established start up working to provide medical services in locations where there is no clinic or facility. Dr Sara spoke of the requirements for administrative support. The community outreach is largely dependent on a community ambassador who helps in conducting a community survey. NVP linked Sobia Noreen Khan as a volunteer community ambassador. In addition to that, when there was a need in the Finance department, NVP linked Farhan Awan, an ACCA qualified accountant, with DoctHers. Dr Sara felt Farhan had made a valuable contribution by helping updating the necessary finance systems for DoctHers.
Finally, as a token of appreciation to SRSC, NVP surprised the students with a magic show. This proved to be enjoyable to all, the students, the volunteers and trainers as well as the NVP team. I am personally looking forward to the next workshop!
Nazish Shekha, Senior Associate, National Volunteer Programme.
[caption id="attachment_1441" align="aligncenter" width="355"] Photo courtesy of Dawn.com. http://www.dawn.com/news/1269711/edhi-the-exception-to-pakistans-faults[/caption]
Greetings from the National Volunteer Programme!
As National Volunteer Programme highlights the heroes of Pakistan, the first person who comes to mind is Abdul Sattar Edhi and his work through the Edhi Foundation!
Abdul Sattar Edhi was the most endearing person in Pakistan, and the third Pakistani to receive military honor at his burial ceremony after Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and General Zia-ul-Haq. Call him an Angel, Mother Teresa of Pakistan, Father Teresa, Angel of Mercy or ‘The Richest Poor Man’, call him by any name but the fact is that, he was just an ordinary human being without any mystical or divine powers. Edhi has always believed in simplicity, truth, piety and humanity. His life holds so many lessons for us.
Now it’s time for us to continue and contribute to his Mission. Start with simpler tasks. Take care of orphans, widows and needy by any means. Donate them money, devote your time in educating or helping them, join any NGO as a volunteer or try providing them basic necessities. Start caring for humans beyond ethnicity, caste or religion. Look after animals around you. Our individual and collective efforts can create a big difference in the society.
Edhi once said, “Insaniyat say bara koi mazhab nahi.” (There is no religion greater than humanity.)
Let’s vow to continue Edhi Sahab’s mission by employing compassion in all our actions.
Written by Karim Moiz Sharif
Karim Moiz Sharif is a summer intern at the National Volunteer Programme. He is currently studying Bachelors of Business Administration (BBA) from Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto University of Science and Technology, Karachi (SZABIST’K). Karim hopes to major in Marketing. He likes to read articles related to socio-economic situation of Pakistan. He also loves writing and keeping an eye on politics and social issues.
General Editor: Ayesha Channa, Project Associate, NVP