Pakistanis commonly lament the lack of funds allocated to education by our government. Few try to take an initiative instead of relying on authorities and ensure education for all. Sara Khalili is one of those few.
Education For All is a non-profit venture that arranged funds for tuition of underprivileged children. Khalili pushed this idea into the world of reality in 2012, when she herself was a student, donating money from her own pocket money, asking friends, using up her packages by texting her contacts to donate and support a child’s education. I’m pretty sure few would have thought it would last. Nevertheless, her friends came through and contributed as much as they could. At the time it didn’t cost more than Rs 500 per head to support a child.
However, as the project gained momentum, the number of students that were to be supported grew and unemployed students could no longer afford to support everyone’s education in private schools. The expenses of a student grew from Rs 500 to Rs 1500. Changes had to be made if the dream of providing education to all was to be sustained. So as more children were included in the program, Khalili went to as many donors as she could to arrange more funds so her students can continue to study in top schools.
Time has not stunted the growth of this extraordinary program. More people have started to pitch in money, both from national and overseas Pakistanis. Some take specific students up as their projects while others donate to the organization. All donors are given receipts of where their money has been spent, a practice that builds further trust. Anyone can donate money to the cause as the minimum amount is a mere Rs 185. The organization does not take on university students unless a donor takes personal responsibility for their tuition.
Another distinguishing feature of EFA is that it is completely free of gender or ethnic bias. The passion for education is the uniting factor and while taking on students, ethnicity or gender is not taken into account, a feat few organizations can boast of.
A lawyer, an award-winning freelance blogger, Khalili is now pursuing a masters degree in Special Education. The process of providing education to underprivileged children is ongoing with two more people on board: Zeerak Khan, a student and entrepreneur from Islamabad, who according to Khalili ‘has been of great help’ to her, facilitates students, and Abdul Moiz Qadir, the web developer for the organisation’s website.
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