In Conversation with Shahnaz Hunzai – Project Manager at Zindagi Trust

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.

Winter Education Camp – Zindagi Trust

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.

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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. 

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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.


2017 – Growing online service for matching volunteers

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!

International Volunteer Workshop at SRSC

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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

How can we continue Edhi’s Mission?

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

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

Celebrating Independence Day the NVP way

Greetings from the National Volunteer Programme!

Independence Day is about paying tribute to those who have helped us gain independence and those personalities which continue to dream about having a prosperous Pakistan. The National Volunteer Programme celebrates its first Independence Day as Pakistan turns 69 years old.

When this nation began, our forefather recognized the importance of being a community, Quaid e Azam’s in an address to the country on Eid ul Azha in 1948 speaks of mobilizing resources “”in a systemic and organized way”- this refers to working to benefit our communities and country.

This year we plan to recognize the true heroes of Pakistan. These are people who not only deserve recognition and respect for their contribution in the development of Pakistan but also serve as an inspiration to all of us. The concept of giving back to the community transcends all religions. Compassion in action – can be described in Allama Iqbal’s poetry, where his most famous words reflect the essence of volunteerism “Hain Log Wohi Jahan Mein Ache, Aate Hain Jo Kaam Dusron Ke”(translated to be It is only the people who help  others in this world – who are good).

Thus we have started our tribute with Allama Iqbal. We will go on to recognize our unsung heroes as well as remembering the heroes we all have come to know during their work. We also have a surprise for you on the 14th of August on our Facebook page!

Keep logged on to our Facebook page during the month of August!

Wise words of Allama Iqbal

Warm Regards,

NVP Team

NVP Newsletters are up!

Dear all,

First of all, we’d like to extend a warm welcome and ‘thank you’ to you all for volunteering with us. We are super excited to have you all on board with us! It is with great pleasure that we present to you the first two issues of NVP Newsletter! The aim of these monthly newsletters is to bring to you all the latest news, events and content regarding NVP. 

In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you about why you’ve subscribed to our list, how has your experience been with us so far, what aspect of NVP & volunteering you’re interested in learning about and your thoughts regarding our first issue. If you have volunteered before, we would love to know more about your experience. So long as you reply to us, we promise we will too!

If you need anything else, please feel free to get back to us at ‘’.
Looking forward to hearing back from you all.

Since we have quiet a lot to share, please follow the links below, sit back, relax and enjoy the read! Your comments, suggestions and contributions are most welcome. 

NVP Newsletter – Issue 01

NVP Newsletter – Issue 02

Warm Regards,
NVP Team

1st Volunteer Appreciation Session & 5th Volunteer Orientation!

On Saturday, 23rd July 2016, we conducted a joint gathering of our first ever Volunteer Appreciation Session and the 5th NVP Volunteer Orientations. The main purpose of all our Orientations has been to introduce our new volunteers to the basic Code of Conduct required and expected of them as well as to discuss their potential placement within our respective registered Beneficiary Institutions (BI’s). However, this time we also wanted them to get the chance to meet and greet our previously successfully placed volunteers.

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The volunteers invited to the Appreciation Session were those who had successfully completed the first term – which is around 8 weeks – of their volunteering services. The basic layout of the session was as follows: we began with a short, engaging presentation which explained in detail the Volunteer Code of Conduct as well as their rights and obligations within the Beneficiary Institutions. This was followed by a small activity where we invite our new volunteers to share their respective views and ideas regarding volunteering, its necessities and the acquired benefits.

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A one-on-one discussion comes after this, where we discuss and decide their individual placement within our registered BI’s. This was followed by a small tea break in which both the exisiting and new volunteers shared there experiences and expectations. It was an absolute joy to witness the passion and enthusiasm of our new volunteers and to listen to the motivating stories and experiences of our graduated volunteers! The certificate distribution ceremony came right after the tea break, which was followed by a photography session.

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This was an amazing experience for our entire team and it us first-hand knowledge about the commitment of our volunteers. We sincerely thank you all for you continuous support and passion. A special shout out to our first batch of graduated volunteers, all of whom have agreed to continue their volunteer services for another 8 week term. NVP salutes you for your passion and commitment! We would not be possible without your continuous interest and support! Keep up the good work guys!

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 We will be posting the details of our upcoming programmes so stay tuned to our Portal, Facebook and LinkedIn page for further updates! In the meantime, keep spreading the word and keep volunteering!

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Building Corporate Volunteerism into CSR

Companies today are moving back from philanthropic (cash only) contributions to active community involvement. This includes in addressing practicing community amelioration by engaging employee involvement. Civil society is increasingly holding the corporate sector responsible for environmental issues and local community issues. This movement has been promoted by growing accountability demanded by the general public.

As a subject it has taken front stage in the corporate world globally. However correct understanding of CSR is still quite limited in Pakistan, with a general belief that corporate philanthropy (altruistic donation of funds to causes / charities without expectation of any return) is the ‘same thing’ as CSR. Whilst CSR has evolved from corporate philanthropy, it needs to be considered as a process within the company which goes well beyond mere cheque-writing.

In Pakistan, companies which have made the effort to understand CSR have quickly realized that there is in fact a business case for CSR. These companies have improved their image and reputation within the local communities, have more productive supply chains, have become better selling brands and have become workplaces of employee choice.  In other words, CSR is good for business. By developing a holistic CSR strategy covering all business operations, and by putting this strategy into practice, companies stand to reap a number of benefits. Broadly speaking, these include:

  • Cost savings
  • Reduction of environmental footprint
  • Higher efficiencies and hence higher productivity
  • Higher profit margins
  • Reputation and image enhancement
  • More motivated workforce

Corporate volunteering can be linked to reputation enhancement and a more motivated workforce. It has been explored as both an aspect of CSR and employee development. Globally, survey reports identify a number of reasons for CSR. Effective CSR creates a viral marketing or word-of-mouth benefit, which may be difficult to quantify but whose impact is far greater and far more long-lasting.

Volunteerism is not a new phenomenon. Children from as early as the age of sixteen are part of volunteer programmes in Pakistan. Private schools encourage students to opt for programmes towards community building and helping to promote progress and equality.

Volunteerism helps to bring in new ideas and energy to work. New innovative ideas can be drawn while looking into new projects or at times dealing with monotonous work. There is a great deal of flow of ideas.

Other benefits of introducing volunteerism at a large scale include the strengthening of relationships with the people in the local communities. This also helps to improve social and relationship skills of the volunteer. Moreover, engaging volunteers for a project helps to gain support for the work and to gain first-hand knowledge of what the community needs and lags behind in. Later, the goals can be set in tune with the perspective of the community as a whole rather than just in the aim of the organization.

Volunteerism thus enables everyone to become a part of the community service. It provides them a sense of direction, and keeps them engaged and occupied. It is not only good for individual self-esteem but at the same time it is important for mental health.  In developed countries volunteers have become a support force to different public and not for profit organizations. Volunteering Australia reports volunteer activity was worth $25.4 billion to the Australian economy in a study done in 2010 (Volunteering Australia (2015).

Corporate volunteering has been explored as both an aspect of CSR and employee development.  Volunteering has become a strategic asset to help achieve business goals.  The benefits of corporate volunteering include employee development, as they are required to think and use his/her skillset in an alternative situation. It also helps build greater teamwork and bonding between employees within the company through their close interaction outside the workplace. When employees are validated by the company for their additional skills and strength of character, it can lead to higher productivity, increased employee motivation and loyalty.  

Researchers have found that employees who volunteer through their workplace report improved physical and emotional health. The specific benefits include reduced obesity, reduced stress, increased levels of activity, a more positive emotional state and higher levels of overall satisfaction with life.

New at Volunteering

New at VolunteeringIn June 2011, I had recently finished my A’level exams and my eagerness to begin my journey as an undergraduate student was at its peak. However, the tedious wait of two months before I enrolled as a student was getting to me. I had to make the wait worth awhile so I decided to volunteer in the meantime. I had never volunteered at a nongovernmental organization before and I had no idea about the challenges which were heading my way. I went ahead and spoke to the Care Foundation to let me volunteer at one of their government adopted schools. The school I volunteered at was called the Zamzama Government Primary School. They were very keen on letting me begin this new chapter of my life as a voluntary teacher to children from class 1 to 3 the very next day.

That day I remember waking an hour before my alarm was meant to buzz, feeling nervous to meet the children I was going to teach. Thoughts such as, “Am I going to be able to teach them anything? Will I actually make them learn and discipline themselves? Are they going to respect me as their other full-time employed teachers?” ran through my head. I mustered up all the courage and positivity I had in me and got ready to go to school. Once I got there, I was called into the Principal’s office and he told me that I would be teaching English to classes 1 to 3. He handed me a set of English curriculum books that they were using. He told me that my first class would begin in fifteen minutes and until then I should familiarize myself with what is being taught. I went through the books and the responsible feeling of educating  young brains breezed through me and filled me with joy. I sat there going through different English Language exercises and made a mental plan of what exactly I was going to teach.

Soon, I was taken to class 1 and was introduced to them as their new English teacher. The children all stood up to greet me with a synchronized ‘good morning teacher’ while a few just murmured a simple ‘hello.’ Once they were all seated and ready for their first lesson, I picked up a chalk and scribbled ‘English’ in bold letters across the board. I was instantly nostalgic of the time when I role played as a teacher when I was five years old. I began teaching and lost track of time looking at little hands writing in their notebooks and giggling over a silly mistake. Soon, the bell rang and I was done teaching my first class. I went back to sit and wait in the library until I would be called to teach class 2.

That day, I learnt a lot about myself. Not only was I capable of teaching and making the children feel comfortable around me but I realized the power every teacher holds of shaping an individual’s life. The authority of making a mark in someone’s life is one of the best feelings I have ever experienced. Think about it. You are giving a child something that he would store in her or his mind for the rest of her/his life in one way or the other.  When he grows up and finally makes use of the knowledge you have provided him with, you realise it’s a priceless experience to become a teacher.

Similarly, volunteering is an experience that enables you to trespass your comfort zone and achieve new heights. The minute you decide to serve a cause or an institution without seeking to gain any monetary or tangible benefits you teach yourself the importance of community ownership. It is our duty to serve other people and make their lives easy if we have been blessed with an easier and less complex life. The more we give, the more we get – I certainly live by this statement. A person must volunteer at least once in his lifetime.