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!