A Dubai Cares delegation recently concluded a series of field visits in Pakistan to monitor and evaluate its two year program, which has created a significant impact on the educational environment across four districts in Punjab and Sindh provinces to benefit 75,000 primary school children across 300 schools. Driven by an AED 6 million (US$1.60 million) investment by Dubai Cares, the program focused on creating a conducive learning environment acrossthe worst affected districts in these two provinces to restore and upgrade the educational infrastructure which was severely affected by the floods that hit Pakistan in July 2010.
With 5.1 million out of school children in Pakistan, Dubai Cares’ efforts have been a critical component of the government’s drive to improve the state of education in the country with an overall focus on providing sustained access to schools and improving quality of education.
Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares said: “I am pleased with the impact our program is creating in Pakistan. Our “Pakistan Emergency Flood Response” program is in line with the government’s commitment to meeting the Education for All (EFA) objectives as well as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). With our systematic program development process, our efforts in Pakistan have strengthened the educational environment, providing children across Punjab and Sindh with basic opportunities for a quality education that could lift them out of poverty and help them fulfill their true potential through an integrated community driven approach.”
In terms of School Rehabilitation, Dubai Cares has been working with its partner Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) to extend the Whole School Improvement Program (WSIP) cluster approach in three to four districts of South Punjab and Upper Sindh. The WSIP focuses on revitalizing under-performing public schools through public-private partnerships to enable transformation of government schools into viable, self -sustained and quality driven educational environments. Dubai Cares has also provided training support for life skills to teachers and school councils that encompass Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) during emergencies and quality learning approaches. In order to encourage children to complete their education, Dubai Cares has also put in place a “Catch Up” Program which provided 1,000 out of school drop-out children with another opportunity to enter the mainstream primary educational system.
Dr. Baela Raza Jamil, Director of Programs at Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), Director at Institute for Professional Learning (IPL) and Coordinator of South Asia Forum for Education Development (SAFED) said: “We are grateful to the people of the UAE for supporting girls and boys education in remote districts of Pakistan. ITA acknowledges its 5 years long partnership with Dubai Cares and looks forward to future collaboration to reach more children across the country.”
With entire communities still affected by the aftermath of the flood situation, Dubai Cares provided Back to School Kits for children with essential basic school and educational materials to enable quality learning. Dubai Cares has also established 15 Early Childhood Education (ECE) Day Care Centres in the affected districts catering to 3,000 children in the age group of two to five years and their mothers. The interventions include support for maternal and child health and nutrition, learning stimulation, good parenting and strong social support for care givers. The centres are managed by a local community committee with substantial representation of women offering a range of activities for children, youth and women.
The program has adopted the best practices from the successful Dubai Cares model for rehabilitation of girls’ schools that is being implemented by ITA in Punjab. This has illustrated the tremendous possibilities of creating a stimulating learning environment in government schools with community engagement and instilling positive attitudinal change amongst teachers and parents.