2013 was a year of great achievement for our organization and this has set a solid foundation for the year ahead in 2014. Concern Org haS expanded its board in 2013, adding CEO Natasha Howie and Managing Director Claire Johnston (both from Australia).
In January 2013 we commenced an education program for laborers’ children; it will run to March 2014. Its aim is to ensure education for all of Pakistan’s new generation by targeting street children and laborers’ children who would otherwise not have the opportunity to go to school. These children typically work in hospitals or homes as cleaners, sell items in the market or work as laborers themselves during the day. Classes are therefore held in the evenings.
Under the program, 180 children (93 from Faisalabad and 87 from Gujranwala) are receiving basic education (literacy and numeracy, as well as art education). Along with reading and writing, the program incorporates maths (taught with an emphasis on fun), art and drawing, as well as extra activities designed to bring out the children’s talents and abilities.
The children have also been exposed to computers and new technologies such as video calling for the first time. We hope that this early encounter with technology will help the children to connect with those around them and around the world in later life.
Teacher training and workshops have also been held approximately once a month.
We commenced a maternal health awareness program in April this year; it will run for two years, to March 2014.
This program aims to inform expectant mothers of the risks associated with pregnancy, improve poorer women’s pregnancy experience and share the importance of maternal and child health during pregnancy.
1250 women have benefited from the program; 20 health workers from both Faisalabad and Gujranwala have also received training.
Along with physical, mental and sexual health education, women also receive charts and booklets providing information about maternal and child health care via simple illustrations.
Concern ran a Farming Awareness and Kitchen Garden Program in Youngsonabad in June, where we provided 120 farmers (66 women and 54 men) with intensive training about growing crops and kitchen gardening over one week. The program not only provided information on health and nutrition, but also taught the group about which plants are best and easiest to farm to ensure success and a good return when selling their products at the market.
Concern commenced its Adult Literacy Project (ALP) in June 2013; it will run to June 2014.
The aim of this very important program is to transform and educate the community by providing literacy skills for life.
Two education centres have been established in Faisalabad and Youngsonabad (Pakistan) respectively. The program currently caters for 80 women – 35 in Faisalabad and 45 in Youngsonabad – teaching them to read and write in Urdu (one of the two official languages of Pakistan; the other is English).
Along with education, community meetings and ongoing teachers’ and trainers’ workshops have formed part of the project.
Commencing in August this year, we have run a Beautician Training Centre in Gujranwala. The Centre benefits women and girls from poorer homes, or divorced women who had previously relied on their husbands’ incomes – 26 in total – by teaching them the beauty trade so that they can work in an established salon, or for themselves, supporting themselves and their families.
This program has been highly successful and will run until January 2014.
In August and October, we were able to feed a total of 125 children via our Feeding Program (25 children over one day in August and 80 children over one day in October). The feeding program has been running since May 2012, with great success, feeding hundreds of women, children and families.
In 2013, the founder Irum Nafees had her dream come true to feed 100 families with 10 days of food for Christmas. This dream was made possible by fantastic support by the Gr8 Women organization in Australia and many other individual donors.