Pakistan is facing a serious challenge to ensure all children, particularly the most disadvantaged, attend, stay and learn in school. It was reported in the Pakistani DAWN newspaper in September 2021 that “Out of all children in Pakistan between the ages of five to 16 years, 32 per cent, i.e. one third, are out of school. This amounts to an estimated total of over 20 million.” The often marginalised Christian minority, who are amongst the poorest section of society and often discriminated against, have little realistic access to education from the national or provincial governments. The problem has been exacerbated, and poverty has increased, due to COVID-19, resulting in a crisis for millions of families.
This is the back-drop to our work as a whole but especially the work Starfish Asia has been enabled to achieve through the generosity of our donors and the hard work of staff and partners on the ground in Pakistan. With the annual report and accounts being accepted by the trustees we can all celebrate what has managed to be accomplished to improve the literacy rate of some of the poorest people.
Here are just some of the highlights:
- 9,000 children received an education with Christian values and Bible teaching.
- 46 schools supported mainly by providing salaries for over 400 teachers. We also continue to support 6 homes and centres for children with special needs.
- Provided for significant refurbishment to 6 of these schools.
- Completed the new building for the Holy Shepherd School in Karachi.
- Provided furniture and equipment to 35 schools, with new toilets, desks and chairs, fans and electricity back-up, computers etc.
- Given fee scholarships awards to 250 students with a very high number coming from Starfish supported schools.
- Provide sets of textbooks to our 46 schools and over 9,000 students plus supply students with the Bible Curriculum books. We were also able to provide this assistance for a number of other under-privileged schools.
- Our staff have visited ALL of the projects at least once with targeted support being given to a few struggling schools.
Coming out of lockdown many schools have taken time to find their feet again and a number of students seem to have dropped out of education. Jasmine and Danishmand have sent a very clear message that we want to work together to see pupil numbers increase, as well as improvements in the quality of education and administration. We believe this will help increase literacy.
Plans for the future
Nothing stays still. If we stop then things will only get much worse. If we simply continue what we do, things will still deteriorate but at a slower rate. To really rise to the challenge of rising the literacy rate in this generation, Starfish Asia hopes and prepares to be able to increase our support to these and other schools in Pakistan in the following 3 areas:
In written partnership with each project leader, we will aim to provide the best possible infrastructure for each school and home: classroom décor and furniture, books, electricity back-up, fans, clean water, toilets and washroom facilities, etc. A good study environment enhances dignity, respect and confidence.This coming season focus areas are providing reliable alternative electricity supply via solar panels and equipping high schools with computer labs.
For all students in supported schools, we aim to provide the best possible good teaching practice, which requires training and monitoring, as well as motivating, inspiring and rewarding teachers and staff. A staff development programme is being prepared in co-operation with a professional team of trainers.This includes a schedule of follow up whereby trainers can visit schools and assess the teaching skills “in-situ” to give encouragement and developmental feedback.
We will ensure pastoral care, as well as Bible study provision and materials, for all staff – as well as training in the use of Bible teaching materials for students. We aim to do all we can to ensure a strong spiritual and biblical foundation for the coming generation of Pakistani Christians. This will complement our regular oversight from the National Director who offers pastoral support and encouragement on each visit.
Please download and read the current accounts and report to see the way in which our supporters make a difference to thousands of lives.
Rob BavingtonStarfish Asia 1200 627
1 September 2022
Read it in 3 mins