Despite the enormous economic potential of Badin District in southern Pakistan, with its sizeable oil and gas fields and its abundant, fertile soils, the district ranks lowest in the country in terms of its Human Development Index (HDI) score. Over the past two decades, increasingly unpredictable and devastating rain events have stifled the region’s development and decimated local incomes, mainly derived from agriculture, livestock and fisheries.
To help the most marginalized communities build their resilience to these events, ACTED is providing a range of education programs aimed at both bolstering levels of primary education (especially literacy) and work skills among adolescents and adults.
Partly due to its remote location, residents of Bedin suffer from a lack of access to basic facilities such as education, health and transportation. Considering the needs of the community, ACTED established a non-formal education center in the area in close liaison with a local Parents Teachers Associations (PTA), which plays an important role in community acceptance and support for the center.
With the new center, ACTED oversees the delivery of the Adolescent and Adult Learning and Training Program (AALTP). This was designed for vulnerable members of the target community who missed past education opportunities. The program provides an accelerated non-formal primary education for vulnerable adolescents and basic functional literacy together with a certified skill development / vocational training course for adults. ACTED works with local support from the Sindh Education Foundation (Government of Sindh) in Union Council (UC) Seerani.
The center runs separate classes for men and women, with well over half of the 171 adolescent learners being female.
Farhat lives with her mother and four siblings in Umer Mallah village located six kilometers from the center. Her late father, Muhammad Siddique, was a primary teacher and the sole breadwinner. His death when Farhat was only seven years old meant she had to drop out of education.
While relatives and friends provided whatever support they could provide, her father’s pension was insufficient to sustain the family. Farhat bid farewell to her dream of staying at school and began working at the age of 10 alongside her mother and her younger sister.
Upon hearing about the center, Farhat requested permission from her mother to enroll in the program. Her mother, Najma, was initially reluctant, given the distance to the center and the fact of losing the additional income which her daughter was contributing.
Given Farhat’s determination, members of ACTED staff soon visited Najma and local PTAs to allay any fears that she had regarding her daughter’s attendance. Finally, along with her sister and two brothers, Farhat obtained permission to enroll. She attended the center during the evening shift and worked to support her mother in the morning, studying: English, Maths and Audio-Visual Arts, going on to earn the highest mark in her group in her final exams.
My dream is that after completing my current studies, I will go on to vocational training in the Seerani Center. Then I will start my own business/enterprise to support my mother and family in completing their education