Let me clarify. Have you been paying attention to Thaakat’s most recent Facebook updates? You know, the ones that tell you about Ballin’ 4 Books? If not, pay close attention now because I’m about to tell you.
Ballin’ 4 Books is Thaakat’s third annual charity basketball tournament. All proceeds will go towards our Dreams for Kachra Kundi Campaign.
In case you’ve been living under a rock (or in case you’re new to Thaakat — Welcome!), this campaign will pay for books and other expenses at the school we recently funded in Kachra Kundi, a village in Karachi that, until Thaakat’s intervention, had limited access to education.
Help those kids out, and register for the event here. It will begin on Saturday, November 17 at the Oak Brook Park District, and registration is $250 per team of eight players. By the way, prepayment for the event is due by November 3rd. If you don’t meet that deadline, we can’t guarantee that you will have a spot in the tournament. Or that you will have a chance to pick your team color. You could get stuck with brown as your team color. Or puce. That would be unfortunate.
So far, eight teams have registered for the event. Personally, I’m rooting for Team Medicaid. But who knows, maybe they’ll get taken down by the BiryaniBoyz. Or the Disney Dreamers. Or your team. Register today!
By: Ammara Bokhari | Director of Global Projects | Thaakat Foundation
It’s official, our dreams for Kachra Kundi are finally coming true! Thaakat is proud to announce that our school’s classrooms opened its doors to 68 eager students and today boasts 325 students in attendance with more waiting. Some of them traveling from as far as five kilometers away at the opportunity to attend. Fourteen teachers have been appointed, with six to seven more planning to come on board. The subjects being taught are: English, Math, Science, Social Science, Art, Urdu, and Sindhi (the commonly spoken Urdu dialect of the region). 250 desks are ready to use, a water tank has been installed on a nearby hill, and bathrooms are currently being completed. This would not have been possible without all of Thaakat’s amazing supporters! Thank you for believing in the dream and letting us get this far! #lethedreambe’ Stay tuned for new pictures!
Construction of the school called Al-Khair Campus III, began early this year. Our partner Idara Al-Khair managed construction throughout its entire process and we’re so pleased with the results!
You may remember the launch of our “Dreams for Kachra Kundi” campaign last summer. How exactly did we come to where we are today with this project, from a simple dream of bettering a community to launching an officially up and running school? Below is a quick guide to help you understand:
Project Overview: Building a school in Pakistan, located in a clean and safe environment to educate the underprivileged children of Kachra Kundi, who have dreams to rise up and make something of themselves. The school currently has 9 completed classrooms which will serve primary and secondary level teachings.
What is Kachra Kundi? An enormous garbage dump area in the village of Jam Chakro, a 45 minute drive from Karachi, Pakistan. Garbage from the city of Karachi is dumped around the clock here. Kachra Kundi translates in Urdu to mean “Garbage District”.
Who lives in Kachra Kundi and what do they do? More than 300 families live among the garbage and every family member earns a living by collecting recyclables (iron, copper, bones, plastic, etc.) from massive hills of burning waste as there are no composting or recycling processes available.
Do we have a partner organization that is doing the work in Pakistan? Yes! Thaakat initially learned of the project through em[POWER] who was working in the area to research sorting processes in the waste to bring a more economical way of living to the community. em[POWER] Energy Group, Inc. is a New Jersey-registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization that seeks to revitalize landfill communities throughout the world using a modular and scalable cooperative development model based on renewable resources.
Thaakat then contacted on site partner Idara Al-Khair, a welfare organization in Pakistan. It was founded by a man named Mohammad Mazahir Sheikh, who had a dream to help educate the poor children of Pakistan more than 25 years ago. Dawn News, GEO, and other Pakistani media outlets have interviewed Mazahir and did inspiring pieces on his organization’s work in Kachra Kundi. Their first school was in Mustafa Colony, which started out with just a few students two decades ago, and now boasts 2,200 children who learn daily in the 200 classrooms of the school. Thaakat has had a great partnership with Idara and is so appreciative of the individual attention they give to each child. Check out the video featuring footage from a Dawn News segment: Kachra Kundi on Dawn News
Why are we helping them? Garbage is burned daily, which has caused excessive pollution and disease. Not only are the residents of Kachra Kundi deprived of civic facilities like clean water, shelter, and electricity, but there had previously been zero access to education in this village- making these children oblivious to the outside world. Previous to Idara Al-Khair entering the village, the site’s volunteer doctor described the children as having maggots in their ears and flies nesting in sores on their bodies. They did not wash their faces and had become so regular to ingesting the burning fumes.
Eight years ago, our partner Idara Al-Khair brought in 16 teachers to educate the children of Kachra Kundi. They run a primary school in the midst of the garbage and we are now building a large combined secondary and primary school in a clean and safe area, which will be away from the central hazard area. We hope to see these children go onto college one day! Our school is called Al-Khair Campus III.
What is #lethedreambe’? I’ve seen this on Facebook! A fundraising campaign we launched in March 2012 to inspire people to donate to our project. The campaign is led by a team that strategizes ways to grow this campaign and our funding. They come up with catchy ideas, logos, pictures, videos, events, etc. and from it came the #lethedreambe’ hashtag so it could go viral. The campaign has its own page on Facebook, which you can follow by clicking here along with a fundraising page on Crowdrise. In 2011 we fundraised to build the 9 classrooms for the new site. The #lethedreambe’ team is now trying to raise funding to construct more classrooms and provide desks, teaching boards, water connections, and other facilities. The team members include: Faizan Zaidi (NJ), Ridah Manan (NJ), Aarish Mustafa (IL), Ammara Bokhari (IL), Nudrat Zoha (IL), Zoha Hussain (IL), Sarah Mobin (IL). Feel free to reach out to any of these people via Facebook for more information or comments.
Has Thaakat ever visited Kachra Kundi? Yes! A couple Thaakateers have visited the site and met with our partner organization! Uzma Bawany-Ali visited Kachra Kundi on her trip to Pakistan in December 2011. Faizan Zaidi visited Kachra Kundi during his trip to Pakistan in summer of 2011 (his pictures have been included throughout this fact sheet!). Check out the links below of Youtube videos Uzma made on her trip to Kachra Kundi:
Who are the Al-Khair Tigers? The Al-Khair Tigers are a mighty soccor team made up students of the Kachra Kundi area. Idara Al-Khair helped set up the team in 2012, strongly believing in promoting healthy extra cirrucular activities that will keep the children active. These mighty little Tigers are so good that they’ve been selected to take part in a competition organized by Zong Pakistan (a cellular phone company) in partnership with Manchester United. The Tigers are competing for being selected to attend a 1-week soccer training school in the United Kingdom!
How can people donate to this project? Please visit http://www.thaakat.wordpress.com/donate to view various donation options!
Timeline of Project Updates:
Summer 2011: Began fundraising; Faizan Zaidi visited Kachra Kundi site.
December 2011: Purchased land to build school and began construction; Uzma Bawany-Ali visited project site.
January 2012: Walls of the school are up and construction of nine classrooms is completed. Construction of the restrooms and digging for water connection piping begins.
February 2012: Thaakat meets with the former Governor of Sindh, General Moinuddin Haider to talk about Kachra Kundi and learn about their needs. Mr. Haider learned of Idara Al-Khair’s work in educating children of poor villages near Karachi during his time as Governor of Sindh and was greatly inspired by it mentioning, “…when these children complete their 10-years of education, we want them to go to college, which will enable them to go to an engineering college or a medical college or some professional college.” Indeed, Thaakat has the same goal for these children!
March 2012: Launched #lethedreambe’ campaign and formed a volunteer team that leads this campaign.
April 2012: The Al-Khair Tigers soccer team is formed for the Kachra Kundi kids to take part in.
May 2012: Bathrooms are constructed; parents start inquiring about registration which should open shortly. 100 desks are completed for the classrooms. With the region’s extreme summer heat in mind, the desks are made of steel legs to be strong and wooden tops, so that they won’t absorb heat.
June 2012: The classrooms officially launched! 68 students attended the first day of classes, with some children traveling as far as 5 kilometers just to attend. Two teachers have been appointed and 250 desks are ready to be used! A water tank for the school is set on a nearby hill. Congratulations Thaakat on this exciting launch! As of July 30, 2012 we have 325 students in attendance!
By: Hira T. Khan | Keeper of the Blog | Thaakat Foundation
The title of this celebration is a bit of a misnomer. You see, World Book Night is not actually celebrated around the world. So far only a handful of countries (America, Great Britain, Ireland, and Germany) have adopted this idea.
So what is it?
Simply stated, World Book Night is a celebration to spread the love of reading. On this day, participating countries mobilize thousands of volunteers to distribute tens of thousands of books to people who are underserved with respect to their location or income status.
A committee of librarians and booksellers chose 30 books to distribute including The Hunger Games, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and Zeitoun. In America, 500,000 books are scheduled to be distributed, and in Great Britain, an astounding 1 million. The efforts will be aided by prominent authors like J. K. Rowling and Dave Eggers. Only in its second year, World Book Night is well on its way to making a huge impact!
In the event that you haven’t signed up to be a volunteer for this amazing event, I urge you celebrate in another way. Consider donating books you have outgrown so that others may benefit from them, or perhaps you can try to overcome the reluctant reader in yourself by picking up one of the books on their list.
By: Parth Patel
Patel is a freshman at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia. A full-time student of biomedical engineering, a part-time worker at a fast food joint, and the Vice President for Thaakat Atlanta, Parth is a busy man. His favorite color is red.
Read on to find out why Thaakat’s #lethedreambe’ project holds a special place in his heart.
When I was five years old, I remember standing outside my home in Ndola, Zambia, and watching my best friend leave in a car. I thought to myself, Where is he going? I then realized he was on his way to school. I had overheard his family saying something about Simba School so I asked my mom, “Is he going to Simba School?” She replied in Gujarati that yes, he was going to be enrolled there that day.
That night, we went to the temple and I met with all my friends. Every single one of them was talking about how great Simba School was and that they were all going to attend. I thought to myself, Hmm, my parents haven’t talked to me about going to Simba School. The very next day, my best friend’s father came over and asked my parents if he could take me to see the school.
I was amazed when I got there, and my eyes took in every detail. Simba School had outstanding facilities, numerous resources and, most importantly, phenomenal teachers. Once I got home, I spoke to my parents about the school. My mom told me that we couldn’t afford Simba School because it was 1,300 dollars each trimester. I couldn’t understand.
“What’s the big deal?” I asked her. Patiently, she explained to me that we could not afford it because my father only made 200 dollars per month, and of those 200 dollars she saved 100 dollars. It was not enough for me to attend Simba School. I was saddened, but I didn’t give up hope.
Meanwhile, my mom continued teaching me at home. She taught me the basics of math (addition, subtraction, division and multiplication) and helped me with my reading. One morning, my father told me to get dressed because we were going to see St. Andrew’s Primary School whose fees were 60 dollars each trimester, much more affordable than Simba School’s. My mom took out my best pair of clothes, which my father had made himself, and I got dressed. I was so happy to be enrolled in an actual school!
When I reached St. Andrews, I was not greeted by a large facility or tall buildings. The classroom was old and the furniture was broken. There wasn’t a swimming pool or any sports facilities. Deep down inside I still wanted to be at Simba, but in the end I was thankful to be going to a school at all. In time, I made friends and realized that education would be what I made of it.
One of my friends from St. Andrew’s had lived in America for a few years before returning to Zambia. He inspired me and my friends with his stories about America, the land of opportunity. I began to dream of going to America too.
In the fifth grade, my dream came true as my mom told me that we had saved enough money to go there. My family would stay with my uncle until we found a place of our own. As soon as the plane took off, my stomach churned and my mind turned to focus on the tingly feeling all over my body. In the plane, I constantly thought about what America would be like, the people I would meet, and the friends I would make. As the plane approached the landing strip, my heart started racing and I didn’t know why. Finally, the wheels came out and touched the ground and I felt relieved. The airplane’s door opened, and I felt a breeze that gave me the chills.
After a few weeks at my uncle’s house, the discussion came up about my schooling. My mom told them that we only had 3,000 dollars and could not afford an expensive school. My uncle’s family chuckled and told her that education in America was FREE. A smile arrived on my mother’s face and mine. Exhaling a sigh of relief, I thought, Wow I am finally in America – the land of opportunity! Soon I will be attending an American College and living the American Dream.