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GOOD PEOPLE GOOD WORKS Zindagi Trust: Opening the Doors for Pakistani Childhood Education - P1/2 (In Urdu)    
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Today’s Good People, Good Works will be presented in Urdu and English, with subtitles in Arabic, Aulacese (Vietnamese), Chinese, English, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Malay, Mongolian, Persian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Urdu and Thai.

There are millions of dreams in the eyes
Standing in the way of life
Some wishes are there on the faces
They are not concerned about today.
They are like flowers, they want to flourish
They want to live their lives
Let’s give them life
Come, let’s give them life.
Come, let’s give them life.

Warm greetings, kindhearted viewers. Welcome to this week’s edition of Good People, Good Works, part 1 of our 2-part presentation on Zindagi Trust, a non-profit organization based in Karachi, Pakistan. This special organization was co-founded by Pakistani pop star and philanthropist Shehzad Roy to provide quality education to Pakistani children.

When you visit the streets of Pakistan, the flower sellers and the hawkers, you'll see a light in their eyes. They just need one opportunity. And I feel proud of the school because after giving them this opportunity they can achieve, they can do anything in the world. So all the children in Pakistan, that makes me proud, the way they progress.

The wider impact of that in our organization whether it’s USA’s Zindagi Trust, or England’s Zindagi Trust or Pakistan’s Zindagi Trust, our core group of volunteers, our core group of board members, we’re all just volunteers. The idea is to help others while sustaining and upholding those values.

Born in Pakistan's pleasant seaside city of Karachi in 1977, Shehzad Roy spent his early childhood under the Pakistani sun. He was very much impressed by the education methods used in American schools which emphasize critical thinking and creativity. In his young, tender heart, Shehzad promised himself that one day he would share this teaching style back in his homeland.

After finishing his studies in the United States, Shehzad Roy returned to his hometown and pursued his long-time passion for music, releasing his first album, entitled, Zindagi, or “Life,” in 1995. Music, however, was not Mr. Roy’s only focus. He was deeply concerned about the underprivileged Pakistani youth who were not getting the education they needed to succeed in life.

Believing that “quality education is every citizen’s right,” in 2002, using the proceeds from his own concerts and music, Shehzad Roy and a few more like-minded people founded Zindagi Trust.

"Zindagi" is an Urdu word; in English you would translate it as "life". And we think that we are giving a new life to those kids who are doing very laborious, menial work with very little remuneration.

And if I was to quantify the remuneration, they work for something like maybe a quarter of a dollar a day. And therefore they obviously cannot afford to go to school, they cannot afford to buy books, they cannot afford to buy other stationery material. So this model of ours provides an opportunity right outside his house.

To encourage working children to attend school, Shehzad Roy came up with a unique concept called “I Am Paid to Learn” which promotes sustainable learning in local communities.

They were working children and earning members of the family, so I just came up with this idea that if I try to compensate them with what they lose outside, maybe they'll come to school. So this is how I started this program.

We started with a daily stipend of Rs20, about quarter a dollar. So if a child attended our school, at the end of the week, per day he got Rs20, that is a quarter of a dollar After about 5 years or so, when we saw that the children and their parents had started understanding the value of education, we carried out a trial in which we talked to the boys, girls and their parents, and we said we are going now to reduce the stipend to half.

We wanted to see the reaction, and we were very pleased to see that there were very negligible number of dropouts. And we continued with that model for another 2-3 years, and we again saw that the enthusiasm of the parents and children was on the increase about coming to schools. When they graduated and did their primary education of 5th level, the parents were very happy.

So we carried out yet another experiment, and we went to them and we said okay, we will now onwards afford your education beyond Class 5 in normal schools, not Zindagi Trust schools, but wherever you want to go, and we will pay for the bills, fees, etc. but you have to forgo your Rs10 stipend.

The reaction was again very overwhelming and they were more than happy to forgo Rs10 and continue education. Now we have girls and boys who are in Class 6 and 7, having graduated from our schools.

The Zindagi Trust program provides students with basic education commencing from kindergarten level through to the 5th grade, teaching them English, Urdu, social studies, Islamiat, mathematics, science, and computers at designated Zindagi schools.

My name is Muqadus Maqsood. We are doing addition and in math we can learn a lot.

The vocational and practical teaching methods, along with incentives for children to attend school, make this a viable solution to Pakistan's urban illiteracy.

We have developed a curriculum. That curriculum is need-based and activity-based. We want our children to be better citizens of Pakistan. Our teaching method is just interactive; we try to build confidence in our students.

The good thing which we have incorporated in our curriculum is life skills: how to have a better relationship with their class fellows, courtesy, greetings, and how to speak, how to think critically, and just bring a change in their lives.

How does the organization identify and approach the children in need?

We have a field team, whose job round the year is to go around in the Board localities, and also go around those workplaces where these small boys are working. This field team of ours keeps identifying and pinpointing the potential kids who would be fit to come to our schools.

These field people talk to the kids, they talk to the parents, and they also talk to the employer. We need cooperation from 3 ends: the kid, the parents, and the employer.

Presently, Zindagi Trust supports more than 2,800 youngsters studying in various regions across Pakistan.

At the moment, the schools are in 3 main stations: Karachi, Lahore, and Rawalpindi. The number of students that have graduated from the system is about 14-1500 at this time. And every year it keeps adding.

Our schools are not more than about 100 children at a time. And you'll be very pleased to know that we have a very good ratio of girls to boys. Sometimes it is 50-50 and sometimes it is 45-55 in favor of boys. And that's a good part of these schools.

The Zindagi program not only brought on great changes to the lives of the participants but also a positive, selfless attitude in the hearts of the children who received the support.

The parents said “We will work extra hours to generate half a dollar, but we want our children to go to school.” Another very good indication was that these children, when they came to school, they also made sure that they brought their siblings along, later. So we have many such cases where more than 2, 3 children from the same family come and attend our schools.

Madasam, he says, “When I grow up, I want to be a teacher, because I want to help other kids like me,” and he adds humorously, “I also want to be a singer like Mr. Shehzad.”

There’s a little girl. She has congenital heart disease, so she has a hole in the heart, which we’ve tried to get surgery for. She wants to become a doctor and help other girls like her. So we’re giving these kids more role models. We’re not just giving them the idea that “Yes, you get an education and then you’ll go back.”

We were telling them that you can progress , live your dreams, get inspired by the role models that you now see and become teachers, doctors, lawyers, engineers, not just be stuck in that circuit of child labor.

Our children now are thinking how to take care of themselves, how to take care of their family with the hygiene and the cleanliness, which we want to make our children think, that this world is yours as well.

Additionally, Zindagi Trust is committed to promoting quality government school reform and improving the curriculum and textbooks of the Pakistani education system so that the population at large can benefit.

In 2006, I took over a government school, and I turned around that government school.

I don't know what good education is; obviously it'll change every year, every 10 years. It's about human, it's about nature, it's about loving your fellow beings, it's about loving nature. If the education is not pushing you to become a good human being then it's of no use. So being a good human is to respect and feel for others. I think this is what schools should focus on.

Mr. Shehzad Roy, our gratefulness and admiration for your kind and selfless endeavor. May your noble mission continue to help bring a brighter future for the beautiful children of Pakistan.

May life become a hope, may it become Love’s thirst.
May life become a hope, may it become Love’s thirst.
Let's pray to God we share happiness with everyone,
May life become a hope, may it becomes love’s thirst.

May life become a hope, may it becomes Love’s thirst.
May life become a hope, may it become Love’s thirst.
Let's pray to God we share happiness with everyone,
May life become a hope, may is become Love’s thirst.
May life become a hope, may it become Love’s thirst.

For more details on Shehzad Roy and the Zindagi Trust,
please visit: www.Shehzad-Roy.com AND www.ZindagiTrust.org

Spirited viewers, it has been a pleasure having you with us on Good People, Good Work. Please tune in next Sunday for part 2 as we visit the Fatimah Girls Government School in Karachi, Pakistan and learn more about how it was transformed under the dedicating effort of the Zindagi Trust. Coming up next is The World Around Us after Noteworthy News. May your heart be replenished with the currents of Divine love.
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