V-01: Creating an impact – Farah Yasmin

How I effectively utilized my winter vacations

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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

Volunteer Career Counselors Required for TCF! Enroll Now!

Dear NVPians,

We are pleased to announce that The Citizens Foundation (TCF), one of our many registered Beneficiary Institutions, is about to begin their Career Counselling Sessions for the year of 2017. 

Volunteer Counselors are required to train and assist 10th grade students from January to Mid-February. If you are interested, please click on the link to apply.

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The number of seats available are limited so don’t let this opportunity go to waste! Enroll now!

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!

Volunteers Required for Winter Education Camp! Enroll Now!

Hello NVPians!

Zindagi Trust SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School, one of our registered Beneficiary Institutions, is organizing a five day Winter Education Camp this December. For this purpose, they require teaching volunteers to help coach 1st, 2nd, 8th, 9th and 10th graders in a wide variety of subjects.

The camp will be held from 22nd to 30th December 2016.

If you are interested, please click on the link below to apply now.

Zindagi Trust SMB Winter Education Camp 2016 Enrollment Form 

The positions are limited and will be offered on first-come-first-serve basis. So hurry up and don’t let this opportunity fly away! Enroll now and keep volunteering!

Warmest Regards,

NVP Team