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A Pehli Kiran Family

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The Yousaf family is originally from Sargodha, Punjab. Yousaf Sahib works as a driver in Islamabad, and all six of his children have been associated with the Pehli Kiran School No. 8 at some time in their lives.

Naeem, the eldest, started school with the PKSS, but his education disrupted when his community was made to move by the CDA due to construction. The family shifted back to the village for a while and he lost a year in terms of academics. However, he is now studying in Class 8 in the Islamabad Model College for Boys (IMCB) and dreams of becoming a pilot.

Waseem was one of the brightest students under Sir Ghazanfar. He stood first in PK-8, then went on to secure the top position in Classes 6 and 7 at IMCB. He is currently with his brother, in Class 8.

Ruqqaiyya is a confident young girl who was always an active part of co-curricular activities. She was also selected by Trustee Tahira Abdullah to participate in the Children’s Literature Festival in Lahore – an experience she will never forget. She is now enrolled in Class 6 in the Islamabad Model College for Girls.

Anum and Noshaba are both in Class 4 in PK-8 and were not available for this photograph, while little Hasan Raza is in KG. They have a long way to go, but their parents have always cooperated with PKSS and continue to support all their children in their academic careers.

Story of Ghulam Abbas

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Ghulam Abbas is 18 years old, with a heart of gold. Last year, he obtained first position in Class One in Pehli Kiran School No. 2, Golra. There was no ramp, so he wheeled his customized cycle right next to the stage to receive his prize, beaming away.

Ghulam Abbas was born with polio. When he was about three years old, he fell ill with a terrible fever and lost the use of his legs. As a little boy, his family brought him to the Pehli Kiran School in Golra. He remembers Sir Munawar from those days, before circumstances forced him to leave in 1998. This was before he got his cycle in 2007, he said – it was difficult to get around. Now, he pedals on with expert skill, arms following a comfortable rhythm. In 2011, then, he came back to his old school.

“It was Sir’s meherbani”, he says, eyes shining with gratitude.

Out of six siblings, only his youngest sister goes to school. The others never did, some finding employment, one being “free” and unemployed. How, then, did Ghulam Abbas decide that he wanted to learn to read?

It was the same instinct, the same confidence in life and himself that drove him to pick up the phone on a Saturday morning and cheerfully inform Communication Specialist Madeeha Ansari that he wanted to sing. Not just that, to “be a singer”.

What kind of singer? she asked. Did he want to go the classic route, perhaps, and learn to perform ghazals?

He thought for a moment.

“No,” he mused. “You know, a singer like Kumar Sanu.”

So, Ghulam Abbas wants to have his voice heard. He wants to entertain, to bring happiness to people through music that they can follow and songs that they can sing with him. He will do this without the slightest bit of self-consciousness, because he is far beyond the fear of embarrassment. Madam Farzana says it’s because he has this inner desire to be someone. We think he already is someone, special and brave and strong and tall.

Ghulam Abbas is currently receiving music lessons from Ustad Mahfouz Khokhar twice a week at Bloomfield Hall School. The Trust is facilitating logistics, while a kind independent benefactor will be supporting aspirations. He also continues to attend Pehli Kiran School No. 2, where among other things he is learning how to recycle low-cost, no-cost materials for creative purposes.

Story of Taj Mohammad

Taj Mohammad opened his eyes to the world in an Afghan settlement near Pehli Kiran School No. 6, H-10. His family had migrated from Kabul and his father worked as a scrap collector. This was his only source of income and he hardly earned enough to feed his children, let alone think of educating them.

When Taj was about five years old, he realized there was a huge shed near his home where every morning, children came carrying bags to learn new things. One of the teachers saw him watching classes and asked if he wanted to join, but he refused because he was afraid of his father. The teacher talked to his parents and convinced them to send their child to school.

Taj started to study in earnest and did his best to come first in class. He also loved cricket and became captain of the school cricket team. Due to keen interest in school activities he was made school monitor – a designation he took very seriously. It was a huge achievement for him and he became a true representative of the Pehli Kiran school in that Afghan community. He motivated many of his friends to take admission and now all of his cousins and nephews are studying in the same school.

After passing the 5th grade exams under the Federal Directorate of Education with very good grades, Taj tried to gain admission in a government school to continue his studies. Unfortunately, he was unable to do so; according to the rules at that time, his father’s Afghan citizenship was an obstacle. Then, his teacher Faheem Hashmi stepped in to help, taking Taj to different private schools until they found the “Capital Model School” in Sector I-10, Islamabad.

This time, his father told him, “If you are interested in education, I will support you and bear all expenses.”

This change in attitude was a big achievement for the school staff, and Taj continued his brilliant performance by securing 1st position in the final exams of 6th and 7th grade. He remained in touch with his past school teachers and came to them for help whenever he found things difficult. Starting out as a very shy child, his confidence grew until he was not afraid to ask questions.

A second hurdle arose when the Capital Model School was shut down; but Taj had decided he would never give up. With the help of Sir Faheem he was again able to find a formal school to continue his studies, and now he is enrolled in 9th grade in Al-Shamas Secondary School, Golra Shareef. He aims to join college soon and says education has changed his life; now he knows how to behave with other people. He is especially grateful to his supportive teachers, who he says have taught him the difference between right and wrong.

Story of Aasia Bibi

Asia Bibi belongs to an Afghan family residing in Mardan. Her family moved to the Golra locality in Islamabad in search of a better life, and her father became a daily wage worker. Asia’s six siblings – four sisters and two brothers – were all interested in going to school in spite of their cultural and economic constraints.

During their community visits, teachers from Pehli Kiran School No. 2 visited Asia’s household to convince the family to send the children to school. The parents refused on some pretext or the other and it was finally discovered that their hesitation was based on financial concerns. Finally, her mother agreed in spite of the father’s resistance. The JAQ Trust provided free text books, notebooks, uniforms and shoes for the children, and Asia’s older sister even continued education up to Class 9 in a formal private school after passing Class 5. The Trust continued to provide her support, but then her marriage was arranged in keeping with her traditional background.

Asia, on the other hand, did brilliantly well in the Class 5 Board exam. With the teachers’ encouragement, her mother took up a stand to ensure that she continued with her education. She is now 15 years old, and is doing her Matric through a “Distance Education Program” from Allama Iqbal Open University, with JAQ Trust financial support.

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A Pehli Kiran Family

A Pehli Kiran Family read more...

Story of Ghulam Abbas

Story of Ghulam Abbas. read more...

Story of Taj Mohammad

Story of Taj Mohammad. read more...

Story of Aasia Bibi

Story of Aasia Bibi. read more...