Mr. Emrah Kolukırık and his team from Türkiye Diyanet Vakfı visited ZEST schools that have been opened in the slums of Karachi, mainly Goth Ali Akbar. During the visit, they were acquainted with the concept behind Zaka Ullah Educational Support and Training (ZEST) initiatives. They were also informed about the methodologies that are being effectively used to bring seven to eleven year old, out of school children back to the non-formal system; hence allowing them to complete their primary education in three years. Mr. Muhammad Arshad (Manager Operations, TNW) and Sardar Shakeel Ahmad (Program Manager, ZEST) briefed the visitors about the project in Karachi, where 1000 out of school children from poor families have been enrolled and are being taught with dignity and care. Visitors spent pleasant moments with the under privileged children, distributed gifts and shared smiles. The innocent angels reciprocated the kindness and love of the visiting team through an exciting and heartwarming performance.
ZEST for Changing Lives
A wonderful blend of passion and vision
No concrete roads leading to a building, or a child nicely dressed up for school, this is ZEST nonformal education setup. What enters a ZEST school is devotion to the Almighty by educating the needy, what continues in the ZEST school is inspiration from the cause, and what leaves the ZEST school is dignity and respect multiplied. On 10th September, 1964, a young boy dreamt of lighting up the world. Driven by untiring passion, he devoted himself to reshaping the lives of children by combining moral and value teaching with formal worldly knowledge. Almost 5 decades later, Mr. Zafar Iqbal, founder of The NGO World, a humanitarian worker, and an ardent disciple of Ustad Zaka Ullah, decided to continue with his exemplary teacher’s jihad against ignorance. The spirited pupil sought to pay tribute to the teacher who had changed his take on life, and hence Zakaullah Educational Support and Training or “ZEST for changing lives” came into being in 2015.
In Pakistan a large number of live energy has been ill handled due to lack of education. Young minds have been tampered with and taken astray, making Pakistan fall a prey to terrorism. Poor villagers do not have the understanding of the importance of education, and hence, children are either used as laborers or are not sent to school to avoid even the most minimal expenses. Girls are engaged in domestic help and their proper education is considered wastage.
In such a scenario, ZEST School teachers do not just teach at school but also motivate and mobilize whatever is in their personal and organizational power to convince the parents to send their children to school.
ZEST schools form a network with the local madrassas, masjid or community, to provide free education and study materials for all without any social or gender discrimination. Upon completion of primary course in three years, the children are then moved to mainstream school for further education. The quality of ZEST education is evident through its immense popularity in the villages of Kabirwala by word of mouth only. The latest milestone is the opening of 25 ZEST schools to cater to 1000 out of school children along the rural coastal areas of Karachi.