Written by: Syed Muhammad Abdullah Hameed - Humqadam/Islamabad
Source & Photos credits: Rafia Memona - Humqadam/Lahore
Often, the onus for providing a well-rounded educational experience for every student falls directly on the shoulders of the school administrators, teachers, faculty, and staff. However, the role of parents and community members is often underplayed. At Humqadam-SCRP, community engagement is at the heart of the school construction and rehabilitation efforts. Consistent community involvement and engagement at all levels of the school have been shown time and time again to have significant short and long-term benefits.
Humqadam’s impressive story of community engagement comes out of Government High School (GHS) Qadi Wind-a school located in the midst of Kasur District, Punjab province. With derelict classrooms and lack of missing facilities, students faced immense difficulties in acquiring education resultantly dropping out of school was seen as the last resort. Humqadam-SCRP adopted the school in July 2017 and aims to construct eight new classrooms and six toilet facilities including one for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs). With half of the construction work complete, the local community members have joined hands to look after the school construction process.
Humqadam-SCRP interventions attracted the attention of local community members to come forward and take ownership in school construction process. Among many, the inspiring tale of Mr. Khair Din, -an advocate and a business man stands out. Mr. Khair Din remains an active Community Committee for School Infrastructure (CCSI) member for GHS Qadi Wind, supporting Humqadam-SCRP during construction. Running a business in the construction industry, Khair Din has years of knowledgeable experience about construction quality and materials, which has come in handy during his stint. He closely observed the school building design. At the same time, he was surprised at the innovations adopted by Humqadam-SCRP in transforming dilapidated public school buildings into safe and healthy learning environments.
Mr. Khair Din has worked extensively to resolve issues faced by students at GHS Qadi Wind. He reinforced Humqadam-SCRP vision by engaging community at a wider level to collect funds for provision of school uniforms, and shoes for deserving students. He advocated to regain the lost interest of parents in sending their children to the new school building provided by Humqadam-SCRP. His endless efforts in solving water issues at school and coordination with local authorities for provision of water filtration plants have been a major source of inspiration among the locals.
Humqadam-SCRP has taken up the infrastructure challenge in public schools of Punjab province. With an aim to foster conducive learning environment, Humqadam-SCRP has transformed the educational landscape of more than 372 schools (as of Aug 2018) in 16 districts of Punjab province. With construction of 1410 new classrooms and 830 toilet facilities for students, Humqadam-SCRP has revived the educational experience of children coming from most humble backgrounds.