Kasur  - Since 2012, USAID Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Programme funded initiative has enabled 500 out-of-school children to accomplish primary education in 3-years.

The last 1000 days of Amna’s life have been revolutionary, for in these days, she has finally started getting education. She has learnt how to read and write and can now speak several sentences in English language. She has also acquired considerable knowledge of basic concepts of Science and Mathematics.

Amna, 13, has achieved these life changing milestones with the help of USAID. ‘Learning is good. I want to keep on learning. It has given me the ability to reflect,’ Amna shared thoughtfully.

Situated in Union Council 6 of District Kasur, Amna’s family survives on meager resources. Her father works in a local restaurant and does not earn much.  From her earliest days she remembers seeing her mother sewing vamps, the upper portion of a leather shoe.  To assist her mother she also started sewing shoes from an early age.  Since being the eldest among her siblings, all she could think of was of assisting her parents so that they can have sufficient food. These reasons also prevented her from gaining formal education.  

Unfortunately, the hands that should have held books and pencils became used to handling needle and shoes. This was the tragedy of Amna’s life and like her of many other children of District Kasur. Majority of children from marginalized families miss schools and work in leather tanneries to support their families.

To fight this, USAID Small Grants Program through Alpha Foundation has provided an opportunity to 500 out-of-school children including Amna to study.

Like most grass root level organizations, Alpha Foundation (AF) is an organization of the people, for the people and by the people. Established and subsequently registered in the year 2004 under the Societies Registration Act 1860, AF owes it origin to a group of people belonging to Kasur, who wanted to work in a participatory manner with the people of the area, for addressing the problems existing thereat. Under the grant, 12 non-formal educations centers have been set up in Union Councils 5 &6 of District Kasur.  Children have been taught specially designed syllabus for over a period of three years thereby, equipping them to pass the 5th grade examination.

‘I had been sewing over 30 shoe vamps daily, but now I sew eight shoe vamps daily and give more time to study because now I have an opportunity to acquire quality education free of cost and I want to use this chance to brighten my future,’ Amna said firmly. In the upcoming days, Amna envisions adopting the nursing profession. She intends to acquire a diploma in nursing after completing her secondary education. ‘I want to be a nurse for they are caring,’ she shared.

Thanks to USAID children who have missed out on early education have been given a chance to gain it.

They have been given what it takes to pave the path for a successful life for themselves and their loves ones.