Aasthan Latif Welfare Society (ALWS) formally started its campaign for education in 1989 and on its own worked for the promotion of basic education in the villages of the Thatta District. It started its educational promotion activities with distribution of free textbooks to poor & needy students in the government’s primary schools.
Aasthan Latif Welfare Society had very humble beginnings for promoting education in the rural areas of district Thatta – a thatched roof office of ALWS which was turned into a coaching center for children who had dropped out from schools because they could no longer afford to attend. Hundreds of children were thus coached, provided schoolbooks, scholarships and uniforms, enabling them to rejoin school during the years 1989-1990.
Aasthan Latif Welfare Society then started creating awareness, motivating & mobilizing rural communities of district Thatta about the need & importance of education especially girl’s education. It held the biggest rally of children in the history of Sindh – named “Journey of Knowledge” in Thatta on 25th Dec. 1990 – for promotion of education of children in Sindh – led by the then Deputy Commissioner, Thatta. Thousands of rural children and parents participated in this rally. It was the starting point of its crusade for literacy in rural Sindh.
Aasthan Latif Welfare Society with its mission to spread light of education carried out many projects/ programs/ activities for promotion & betterment of education in the rural areas of Sindh, Pakistan since 1989:
Non Formal Primary Education for Girls:
Aasthan Latif Welfare Society played an important role in determining and channelizing the available community resources for girls’ education and successfully demonstrated its gender awareness campaign for its girl’s education programs. ALWS initiated a non-formal primary education project in the year 1989-1990 to educate the girls living in the rural areas of Sindh.
ALWS is the pioneers in Non-Formal Primary Education (NFPE) for rural girls in whole of Pakistan. Its Project served as model for other NGOs as well as Government agencies in Pakistan to open such schools in all other areas/provinces.
The first school was opened in 1990 in a village called Dar Maluk Shah, Taluka Mirpur Bathoro, District Thatta. The set up of this school was no less than a miracle given the social conditions where education of girls had little or no value of the areas. The landlords of the area were unhappy at these developments and began creating trouble in different ways but journey of light had started and no one could stop it in face of zeal and struggle by the dedicated members of ALWS and this number of NFPE Centres reached to 330 by the end of 1994.
- The major objectives of the NFPE project were:
- To improve girls’ participation and retention rate at primary level through Non-Formal Primary Education channel.
- To introduce non-formal primary education system for the whole of Pakistan for countrywide literacy.
- To evolve a demonstration model of non-formal primary schools in Thatta for replication by other NGOs and Govt. Agencies in other parts of the country.
The project successfully completed by the end of the year 1996 with total beneficiaries more than 10,000 rural girls with 330 trained teachers and 4950 (1980 males & 2970 females) trained community members as members of formed Village Development Committees (VDCs) in 330 villages.
Community Girls Primary Schools:
After successful completion of NFPE in the year 1995 and providing basic education to more than 10,000 rural girls in 330 villages of district Thatta, Badin & Jamshoro (formerly Hyderabad); there felt a strong need for a formal schooling for rural girls by ALWS & rural communities of more than 300 villages of district Thatta, SIndh, Pakistan as there existed no Government schools where parents could admit their minor girls for primary education. So keeping in view such needs of these villages, ALWS started its project of ‘Community Girls Primary School” (CGPS) in the year 1996 with the major objective to provide formal primary education to rural girls with active community participation.
The main objectives, characteristics & activities are almost the same as of NFPE Project, with some following changes:
- This project was for formal schooling (5 years of primary education) while the NFPE project was for 3 years of schooling.
- Community/VDC also contributed 10% of the teacher’s salary to teacher every month.
- Community/VDC also shared 30% in the textbooks and learning material for their girls.
- All the major activities almost the same ones such as training of teachers, provision of textbooks, monitoring & management, examinations, community mobilization, formation and training of community development committees as if NFPE Project.
By the end of the financial year 2014, 9998 rural girls of age group 4-9 years benefitted through this project through getting basic education in more than 240 villages. As a part of project, 200 village development committees were also formed and their capacity enhanced through imparted 3 days training for school management, monitoring & supervision.