CHANGE IS POSSIBLE
Open Hands Global is dedicated to providing quality education for impoverished marginalized slum communities of Pakistan. The commitment is much bigger than just to fund bursaries and transport to attend English medium schools, we are invested in children succeeding and assimilating in mainstream communities. The children are equipped with school uniforms, books and supported through a robust after-school program.
Visit to Pakistan
In May this year we had the pleasure to visit the children and families of Chak Jala Din, Pakistan. We were so overwhelmed to see children and staff come welcome us at the airport. Haroon, our Program Manager saw it as an added opportunity for children to visit the beautiful new airport just recently opened in Islamabad. We were in Pakistan for 3 weeks and had an opportunity to see first hand the bigger need for quality education. Education that is not limited to a curriculum but includes healthy and well nourished students, healthy environments, supportive families and communities and well trained teachers. The road to success is going to be a long and arduous one!
We met with Open Hands Global staff and were not disappointed – the vision and the love for serving the community is incredible. Also visited with the Principal and teachers of Station School 2 and were delighted to hear how well some children were doing, assimilating and competing with the mainstream students. Fourteen of our fifteen children passed and moved to their next grades making their parents, teachers and us very proud.
During the summer break (June-August) the afterschool program is converted to a day summer school. The children are now attending full day of classes. We have recently purchased a 55 inch LED TV, that will be functional as soon as we move to a more secure and improved space in July. We are excited at the possibility of children learning from phonics, videos and movies.
While in Pakistan, we were able to foster collaborations with local businesses and organizations – “Ace Solutions”, a BPO services organization that also works as an American call center has committed to once weekly English accent training classes for both students and teachers. More details in the next newsletter when the program is operative.
A Pakistani non-profit organization “Thali” has come alongside Open Hands Global to support our poorest beneficiary children and their families with dry groceries including, flour, rice, lentils, sugar, basmati ghee, tea and milk. We hope that we can expand this relationship to provide a healthy snack for the community children attending Station School 2 in the next school year.
Building a Community Centre
In our previous newsletter we had hoped to improve the facilities of where we were running our after school program. However, since then it has become clear that we need to build a permanent facility that would allow us to expand the program to more than 15 children and equip it with facilities that can truly support good quality education and health and wellness programs.
We are delighted to report that 1 kanal piece of land has been donated to Open Hands Global, Pakistan that is 10 mins walking distance from the Chak Jalal Din community. This land is now designated for building a Community Centre that would ensure sustainability of the program and become a central hub for all community children and youth to access essential social, educational and health programs.
The periphery of the land has been marked with a short wall and architectural and engineering drawings are underway to build a 3 level structure that would contain a number of different facilities and services. The important features of the community centre would be 1) a large community meeting hall with kitchen for after school programs/community gatherings/health camps/wellness programs and shared meals, 2) Computer hub and library for job searches/ Interview preparation/exam preparation and 3) several smaller meeting/seminar rooms where adult teacher trainings and smaller group meetings can take place.
The cost of building the main floor of this Centre is estimated at C$80K we hope with your generous support and your participation in our fundraising activities we will get there, slowly but surely.
Special thank you to all the ladies, friends of Open Hands Global, Canada who generously donated new and lightly used traditional clothes and shoes. We were able to bring more than 100 shalwar kameez suits to Pakistan and hold a fun evening with the beneficiary children, their moms, sisters and grandmothers. It was a great evening where the ladies got to participate in games and singing followed by a tea reception. All the donated clothes were beautifully displayed on hangers and the women got to choose the dresses they wanted. Ms. Julia shared with the mothers a few thoughts on how to discipline small children in love when it appears that they are not listening or misbehave. Mothers and grandmothers expressed their heartfelt gratitude to everyone supporting their children and felt that the presence and programs of Open Hands Global in the community were having a tremendous impact on the children confidence, their desire to learn and their will to succeed.
Gifts from Canada and USA!
We also want to thank our donors who sponsored gifts of colored pencils and chocolates for the children. Special thank you to the family who sponsored clothes for each child and had them delivered. The children were excited and felt special.
THANK YOU For Giving!
A Canadian Registered Charity
We are delighted to report that we received our charitable status on 2nd August 2017. This is good news for all our donors as we will be able to issue tax deductible receipts for this year 2017 and moving forward. Please know that all donations received are used 100 percent for benefiting the recipient children and communities. Your donations support school fees, books, uniforms, transportation and afterschool programs for the children of impoverished communities in Pakistan. All administrative costs for the organization including the salary of the Program Manager in Pakistan are supported by contributions from the board.
The afterschool program that was started in May this year to support children with their home assignments and to cope with the academic demands of being in an English medium school was expanded to a day program during the summer vacation. Both teachers, Huma and Sumbal, put in extra effort with weekly tests to prepare the children for their first term examinations held right after summer break in August. Haroon, our program manager, also taught a weekly class for spoken English. We are so excited to report that 5 children were in the top 10 ranking in their respective classes: Daud Younas (Grade 5), Mishal Pervaiz (Grade 4), Amber Imran (Grade 4), Timmer Sohail (Grade 4), and Carolina Qasir (playgroup).
After School Program
During the summer, the home volunteered by the beneficiary family to run the Summer School Program was equipped with an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) and also a UPS battery because of frequent power outages experienced in the community. This power source is able to support a light and fans for several hours per day in order to assure that the school program can run uninterrupted. Also, a refrigerator was purchased to ensure that children had cold drinking water throughout the summer. Attendance of children for the summer program was optimum at 95 percent.
The after school program is ongoing and with your help we can improve the conditions of the facilities where the program is being run. While we are looking at options for a better facility that is enclosed, dry and comfortable we look forward to purchasing chairs and tables for children to use right now, and setting up a few heaters to warm the space during the very cold winter.
Teachers and Families
At Open Hands Global, we understand that without active engagement from the teachers, families, and community, the path to education for the children will not be sustainable. This Christmas we want you to meet Sumbal, our assistant teacher. She is not only grateful to be given the opportunity to play an integral role in the lives of these children, but also knows that this work will improve her own family situation and break their cycle of poverty. Sumbal’s parents are both illiterate. Her dad is a steelworker and the sole breadwinner in the family. She is the eldest of 5 girls whose ages range from 13-25 years. This family of seven lives in a single room with the kitchen outside in a small verandah. Her father has worked hard all his life and held multiple jobs to help educate a few of his children in subsidized federal government schools. Sumbal, through her hard work and desire to excel, completed her Bachelor of Arts. She is working with Open Hands on a very small wage and takes it as an opportunity to better the lives of others. We want your help to support an increase in Sumbal’s wages.
Congratulations to our Program Manager, Haroon George, and his lovely wife Anna who just got married 28th October 2017. We wish them both all the joys of married life.
Music Gala and Fashion Show Fundraising Event -2017
We want to thank all of you who supported us by donating, sponsoring, participating, volunteering, and attending to make the event a great success. Sufficient funds have been raised to provide transport for 15 more children, the first step towards their access to quality education. We look forward to your continued support and engagement in the next year to sponsor the children for school fees, books, uniforms, and afterschool program.
Chak Jalal Din, Pakistan
Chak Jalal Din, on the outskirts of Rawalpindi, is home to more than 4000 families who are impoverished and marginalized because of their religion and occupations. Many residents of this community work in sanitation, cleaning sewers and collecting refuse. Some provide domestic help for Islamabad’s affluent and some are scrap collectors. These families live in dilapidated houses constructed over open sewers. Open Hands Global serves Chak Jalal Din because it is a large community of poor and marginalized people with no foreign presence of any support.
Pakistan Chapter – Local Leadership
Open Hands Global, Pakistan, is now a reality and is a registered Trust in Pakistan. Please meet our local team: Haroon George, our Program Manager, Rizwan Nasir, van driver, Huma Sabir, Afterschool Program teacher and Sumbal Javed, assistant teacher. We are so excited to work with a group of people who share our vision and are committed to making a difference in improving the lives of children and youth of this community.
Right to Quality Education
Quality education is the only road that children can follow to develop and reach their full potential as individuals. Open Hands Global Relief and Health Programs is now supporting English medium education in school and afterschool for 15 children. The children are aged 3 to 10 years and come from families whose income is less than C$3 per day. Of the selected children, there are three who are orphans and live with extremely poor grandparents.
Admission to Station School 2, Rawalpindi
Admission day was exciting and parents/grandparents of most children went along as children participated in admission tests. The children were coached for these admission tests by the Program Manager and local volunteers and it was a sigh of relief all around when all children were accepted. Three children in pre-school nursery, two in Grade 2, four in Grade 3, five in Grade 4 and one in Grade 5. It was interesting to note that most parents who have lived all their lives in Rawalpindi had never been inside an actual school building and were so excited to see their children being given the opportunity of a lifetime.
Haroon, the Program Manager, coordinated a shopping day for school uniforms and all 15 children received 2 uniforms each – the children were absolutely thrilled to receive the clothes that were new and were their size. Through local leadership, parents have been engaged as partners in this program and have made written commitments to ensure that children are always in clean uniform, hair combed and ready for school on time.
We are so proud of Mishel , who was awarded a prize for best dressed. Her picture made it to the school notice board as an example of what the school uniform should look like.
Also, meet Daud: lost his father when he was one month old, grandfather is handicapped and grandmother supports the family on a very minimum wage. Daud’s mom testifies that Daud was dull, shy and a loner until he started going to pre-school. Now the family already sees a change – he is confident, excited and there is a naughty shine in his eyes.
Books and Stationary
Books and school supplies were purchased for all 15 students and distributed. Volunteers from the community helped in binding the books and making packages for each student. Fun stationary was included for each child.
Our fundraising evening last October was made a huge success by your participation. We are happy to report that we were able to raise sufficient funds to purchase a brand new Suzuki mini-van and provide transport for 12 children. The school commute is 20-25 km. Three children have a family member drop them at school. Unexpectedly, several children experienced motion sickness and threw up during their initial weeks of commute to school. Thanks to the patience and kindness of Rizwan, the children are now settled. The van has been upgraded for better ventilation and comfortable seating. The children are now enjoying their ride to and from school while singing along to the music in the car.
An afterschool program, 5 days a week, 3 hours a day, has been initiated to overcome the gap where parents are unable to assist the children with their homework. A beneficiary family has volunteered a small room in their home and are so enthusiastic to contribute and participate in the success of the program. Right now the children are crowded and are sitting on mats. With your support, we hope to rent a larger space and provide chairs and desks for the children. Open Hands Global is supporting the salary of a professional teacher, Huma Sabir (M. Ed) and an assistant teacher to run the program. We are closely monitoring the progress of these children, especially in reading and writing English and Urdu, and math. For a future program, we want to give a cup of milk and a healthy snack for these children to maintain their excitement for learning and attendance.
Thank you to all of you who are supporting us generously and faithfully. This would not be possible without you. The need is more. The next 15 students are waiting for their opportunity!
Your support and commitment of $50 per month will provide tuition, 2 sets of uniforms, books and transport for a deserving student.
A commitment of any amount helps us put gas in the van, rent a bigger space for our after-school program, chairs for children to sit on, provide a healthy snack for the children and support staff salaries.
One hundred percent of all donations are used to provide access to quality education for deserving students.
Our School Projects at a Glance
G8 – Sponsor a Meal
In the heart of Islamabad, Pakistan there is a community of slum dwellers mostly sanitary workers and their families. These families live in settlements located on the banks of open sewers with constant smell emanating from the polluted water and a breeding ground for deadly diseases. In the midst of this chaos, Light on a Lampstand, USA is a shining light providing free early education for the children of this marginalized community. Open Hands Global Relief and Health Programs has come alongside this Institute to provide milk and a selection of seasonal fruits every school day for 34 children to ensure that no child has to sit through classes hungry. As these children receive quality education Open Hands Global is ensuring that learning abilities of these children are secured and strengthened.
Please support us in providing milk and healthy meals to many more school children. Your contribution of a $1 a day or $20 per month will provide a student with milk and a healthy meal every school day.
Chak Jalaluddin – Sponsor a Student
Chak Jalaluddin is a slum community in the outskirts of Islamabad, home to more than 4000 Christian families. Many residents of this community work in sanitation, cleaning sewers and collecting refuse. Others provide domestic help for Islamabad’s affluent as they themselves live in ramshackle houses constructed over open sewers in ghettos hidden from sight behind whitewashed walls.
Open Hands Global Relief and Health Programs is partnering with local leaders in the community to establish its presence for ongoing research and developing long-term educational and health programs.
Open Hands Global has identified 12 children and secured their admission in a local English-medium school for January 2017. Your support and commitment of $50 per month will provide tuition, 2 sets of uniform, books and transport for a deserving student. Hundred percent of all donations will be used to provide access to quality education for as many students as will receive sponsorships.
Some Potential Candidates waiting for sponsorships