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Education serves as the primary and most indispensible catalyst for change in society. Illiteracy results In poverty, and poverty restricts the opportunity for education there by creating a vicious cycle of impecuniosities and want. Therefore, the Marafie Foundation felt it important to focus its attention on education. An in-depth analysis of the state of education showed that in a large area, there were no facilities for elementary education and that the children had no access to education and were condemned to the darkness of illiteracy. At the Middle School level,the low quality of education deprived the students of the opportunity to enroll in professional colleges or to get jobs in the armed forces and law enforcement agencies at officer grade. Recent survey by AKRSP shows that the education in Baltktart has gone under transformation and today it stands at 70°/o for the male and 35°/o for female of the total population. Marafie Foundation has make a major contribution in this regard.
Construction of School Buildings
The need for new school buildings was so great that the Foundation decided to involve the community in construction of the buildings, with the contribution of free land/labour so that the costs could be kept to the minimum, and a sense of ownership could be created. The Foundation also developed three standard types of school, namely elementary school (Maktub), primary school category A and category B. The arrangement is very simple and practi cal. The community applies for construction of a school building and provides free land at an appropriate location, and a team comprising the Construction of Schools and number of Students and Teachers Elementary
Schools local villagers takes the responsibility of construction of the school building and also undertakes to arrange unskilled labour. The selection of the project for funding is finalized by the Foundation in consultation with the education department that keeps in view the population and location of the school. The project is then sent to the donors for funding.
Since its inception in 1987 the Foundation has built 80 elementary schools,254 Primary schools (A+B) in various parts of Baltistan till 2016. An Engineer from the Foundation monitors the progress and the funds are released at various stages of construction, On completion of the buildings, these are handed over to the government education department, registered and well established NGO`s or the community for operation and management. Marafie Foundation continues to support these schools through grants to meet any specific need indicated to it by the management of the school.
These schools have provided education on the doorsteps of the population in the remote corners of Baltistan. It is only a beginning and a small contribution in addressing a hug problem, but by involving the community and supplementing the efforts of other NGO`s and the education department, the plan has showed very positive results in spreading the light of knowledge in the area. In addition, it has given a chance to the people to break the cycle of illiteracy and poverty and it also provides an opportunity for the brightest amongst them to go on to higher education.
Marafie Hostel, Karachi
In order to provide quality education, a hostel was established in Karachi under the strict supervision of an educationalist. Initially, the students who had passed eighth class were selected through a system of tests conducted by an outside, independent body, and two students from each valley were finally selected for places at the Marafie Hostel in Karachi. There, they were enrolled in a good school and regular evening tuition was also arranged for them. These students stayed in the hostel till they passed the F.Sc. examination. This prepared them to compete for admission to the professional colleges. With the general improvement in education in Baltistan, the selection for admission to the hostel is restricted to students who have passed their high school examination, and now the numbers of students selected for the Hostel have increased to fifteen every year. The experiment has been a success and provides a rare opportunity for the students from Baltistan to compete with the students at national levei.The table below shows the outcome of this arrangement and is proof of its success. The academic record of these students and their success is reflected in the table.
In addition of these two major areas,Marafie Foundation has also extended assistance to the students from Baltistan who are studying in colleges all over the Country.
The Foundation provides funds for accommodation for students from Baltistan who are studying in Karachi at the Dawood College of Engineering & Technology and Karachi University. Currently, 257 students benefit from this facility.
Scholarship Scheme for Students
The Marafie Foundation also provides scholarships to the students from Baltisan who cannot afford to bear the expenses for higher education, Nearly 492 students have benefited from the assistance and have continued with their education in disciplines as diverse as engineering, business administration and medicine. These students are studying in various institutions all over Paki stan such as Dawood Engineering College, Sindh Medical Col lege in Karachi and the University of Engineering and Technology in Lahore. The Foundation monitors their progress regularly. At its annual meeting of the Board of Trustees, the Foundation decided to set up a separate fund to enhance the funding and also to look for additional resources from other sources such as contributions from former Marafie students and other donors.
Some inspiring Stories
(1) A new enterpreneur
In the far reaches of Pakistan`s northernmost region, Baltistan, the story of education, professional or vocational, has been one of neglect and underin¬ vestment. This oversight has bred social and economic deprivation in an area that, quite ironically, has been long noted for its scenic beauty and abun¬ dant natural resources. However, in recent years, the scenario has become less bleak with the work of social welfare organizations such as the Marafie Foundation making a visible difference to the lives of many by raising the living standards of entire families. This has been done through the provision of quality educational opportunities to deserving and eligible individuals.
One such success story is that of Ghulam Rasool Baig s/o Ali, belonging to an impoverished family residing in the village of ThugmoShigar. Constrained by the lack of a school nearby and his parents inability to pay for his education in schools farther away, Rasool seemed destined to remain trapped in the vicious cycle of grinding poverty that had been his family`s lot. A glimmer of hope appeared when the Social Action Program (SAP) in collab¬ oration with the Marafie Foundation (which funded the construction of the building) opened a school in ThugmoShigar,
Joyous that their children would finally have a chance to receive an education. Rascal`s parents enrolled him in the new school immediately. Although beginning his education later than most children, Rasool managed to make good progress and continue his education until 8th grade when family circumstances once again dictated that he drop out of school and support his family by-doing work that earned him little more than a 100 rupees per day.
Once again, the Marafie Foundation offered Rasool a way out. During his frantic search for employment. Rasool came to know that the Marafie Foundation had initiated a Technical Training Program to empower the poor students, especially school dropouts. namely the "Hunermund Baltistan Program", Enlivened by hope once again. Rasool applied for selection to the program and was successful in his efforts. During the training, all the expenses including boarding, lodging, school fees and two way bus fares along with monthly pocket money were paid by the Marafie Foundation, After the successful completion of Auto Electrician Training from Applied Technology Institute Mandara, NILC Rawalpindi, he was awarded an experience certificate. Soon after the completion of training, he found employment at an Auto Electric workshop in Skardu and started earning Rs. 6000/- monthly. During the course of his work, Rasool managed to impress many clients with his work. Having gained adequate work experience, he decided to open his own workshop by the name of "Baig Auto Electric Works", Today, Rasool earns about Rs, 15.000- 20.000/- per month providing him with the means to support his family and lead a happy, satisfied life.
Zakir Hussain is one of the first batch students of Marafie Foundation Hostel Karachi who is presently pursuing his doctoral studies from the Agha Khan University Institute for Edu¬ cational Development AKU-IED Karachi. His thesis completion is expected by the mid of 2013. Zakir belonging to a remote village Khanayof Mashabrum Hushe valley Gangche district of Baltistan, completed his primary education from the Primary School Ghursay and Matriculation from the FG High School Khaplu in 1987, After matriculation, he got the opportunity to join the Marafie Foundation Karachi hostel in the first cohort for FSc students. Zakir considers the experience at the Marafie Foundation Hostel as the foundation of his career where he actively participated in the co-curricular
activities at the hostel. Those opportunities and learning experiences enhanced and strengthened his confidence and `the will-to-aspire` for higher levels.
After FSc from Karachi, completed his BSc Engineering (Electronics) from the University College of Engineering Mirpur Azad Kashmir and M,A. Philosophy from the Government College University (GCU) Lahore. After serving as an engineer for a while in a sugar mill. Zakir switched over to teaching. As a science teacher, he served in AI-Mustafa High School Skardu and as a contract lecturer in the PO Girls College Skardu under the project of Marafie Foundation for about two years. Then he joined the Agha Khan Education Service Pakistan (AKESP) team for the project of Baltistan Education Support Unit.
In AKESP Zakir served in different capacities both in Baltistan office and the Office North Gilgit as Teacher Educator, as Head Field Education Office, and as Academic Development Officer in Mathematics and Science, During the service at AKESP, under the project of School Leadership Program (SLTP) Zakir got an opportunity to do B.Ed, IGCE (International Graduate Certificate in Education) and Master of Education from the Notre Dame Institute of Education (ND1E) on scholarship. He earned the IGCE and Master of Education degrees from the Australian Catholic University (ACU) and B.Ed and M.Ed degrees from the Karachi University. In 2006 Zakir joined the Karakoram International University (KIU) Gilg¬ it-Baltisian as Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Development. Luckily, Zakir was nominated for the `Best University Teacher Award` from KIU for the year 2006 by Higher Education Commission (HEC) Pakistan, and he received the award in the first year of his appointment.
In 2008 Zakir got admission in the Education program of the Agha Khan University Institute for Educational Development AKU-IBD Karachi. He joined the Ph.D program availing a study leave of four years from KIU where he is now in the final phase of thesis submission to be completed by the end of 2012, Final defense and degree is expected by mid of 2013.
Two editions of a curriculum book "Taleem-e-Aama" for adult literacy centers, authored (principal) by Zakir have been published by AKRSP Baltislan in 1999 & 2002. Zakir writes in periodicals, local dailies and magazines frequently as an essayist and columnist on different socio-political, educational and regional issues. Zakir`s columns on stragctic issues of Gilgit Baltistan frequently appeared in the Daily Baad-e-Shimal.
One academic paper lilted "Using Kinematics in Learning Geometry", has been published in the Praxis Series "Learning to Practice While Practicing to Learn" by AKESP (2004). A Paper on `Interdisciplinary Teaching at University` presented at the `Interdisciplinary Social Sciences International Conference 2007`, University of Karachi, has been published in the conference proceedings.
As an academic consultant, Zakir has been involved in educational project planning, and research studies of several NGOs including Uswa Education System, KADO and AKESP In future as an educationist and academician, Zakir is willing to contribute to the promotion of quality learning in Gilgit-Baltistan especially primary and higher education in Baltistan.
Marafie Foundation, Islamabad
Sub:- Letter of Acknowledgement
I would like to remind your good self that I am a Marafie scholar. Your orgainzation generously helped me in my hour of need during my studies in Cadet College, Skardu. it was most difficult for me to complete my studies in Cadet College Skardu without the financial support of your esteemed Organization. Besides this, the Marafie Foundation was kind enough to extend their financial support at the time of my admission in UET Mirpur. With great pleasure and pride, may I inform you that the National Institute for International Education Development and Higher Education Commission of Pakistan has nominated me on National level merit basis and granted me Bachelor Degree scholarship for education in the Republic of Korea. It is worth mentioning here that there were only two seats reserved for Pakistan, and I secured the first merit at the National level. It is a great success as well as pleasure for me and my family.
Respected Sir.! Indeed the credit of my success goes to Marafie Foundation, my parents as well as my institutions. I am very thankful to you personally that this is the fruit of your visionary and dynamic leadership that nowadays Marafie scholars are able to compete at National Level. May God increase manifold your power, strength and high caliber. I am optimistic and assure you that after completion of my studies, I will offer my services to your esteemed organization al every level.
I will see you at your office before leaving Pakistan to personally offer my profound gratitude and special thanks.
Zahid Hussain Ex Marafie Student
Project Manager Solar Energy Seoul Korea.
Graduated Students from Karachi
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