Maximizing garage space by teaching children. A Simple Idea. Yet a powerful one. It may be a cliché but a person can make difference. Out of his or her garage.
Neelum Colony is more of a stigma over glittering commercial avenues of Defence and Clifton. The area provides cheap shelter to workers and labours in middle of the most exclusive one. The income gap between the colony and adjacent area shows across the standards and infrastructure. Necessities turn into luxuries and dreams, imagination and expectations subdue across the divide. The predicament will only get worse with time. Until people start making difference. The way Shabina Mustafa did.
Shabina Mustafa, a Clifton walla was originally born in Kolkata and was later raised in Bangladesh. Married to Flight Lieutenant Syed Safi Mustafa, she was widowed a year later at the age of 21 when his husband went missing, believed killed in 71 war. She continued her education and did her B.A. from Karachi University and worked for PAF and Saudi Airlines.
It was in Nov 1999 when Shabina Mustafa envisioned The Garage School when a young eager learner was denied admission in a vocational training session because she could not read or write. She transformed her garage in a fully functional classroom. It was not possible without generous support of like minded people who contributed to Shabina’s young garage school in variety of ways: Planks of woods, benches, blackboards, bicycles, paint and scholarships.
In January 2007, The Garage School expanded in Neelum Colony itself. A three story block was rented where primary classes are conducted in two shifts along with vocational training such as carpentry, computers, cutting, sewing and embroidery. Garage School also emphasizes on the well-being of its students. With the help of generous funding, School management is also arranging milk, biscuits and other necessities for children. Children are encouraged to save money using colorful gulaks. Most of them want to save money for their mothers.
“Holding my outstretched palm, I tell my students about the five finger formula that defines my schooling philosophy. In Urdu it stands for: taur (training), tareeqa (approach), tarbiyat (grooming), taleem (education), and tareeqi (progress). I will give you the first four and the progress will then come automatically to you.” says Shabina.
To get there, drive on 26th Street heading towards DHA from Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine. Turn left from the signal heading to Neelum Colony. A mustard colour three story building on your right is the home of Garage School.
Climb up and meet the staff. Find out how you can contribute. Meet the children. Fall in love with them. Make difference. Out of the garage.