Disgruntled at our country’s situation? Contemplated over it for long in Zamzama Cafes? Disappointed that you are one and can’t make any difference? Your dilemma may have an answer. The Citizen Foundation has made it simple for you. All it takes is Six Saturdays from your time. And what you get is a lifetime satisfaction that you have contributed. And perhaps it won’t stop there. The experience will make you come back again, and again, and convince others too. It surely is contagious.
The Citizen Foundation has 650 schools across the country. But even bigger achievement is situating them in localities underprivileged. Take an idea from the location of its schools in Karachi; Bhains Coloney, Lyari, Hub, Korangi, Soomar Goth, Malir, Jokhi Goth and the list goes on. Providing education at students’ doorsteps is no mean task. Maintaining a universal standard of facilities and quality is different achievement altogether. The environment is surreal at most of the locations. The Karachi Walla saw anti Pakistan slogans outside Hub school and Jinnah inspired students inside the school. TCF students come from different background facing different ground realities. Girls get married after matriculation and boys start jobs here and there. Few have the privilege to study further. Students are left to their fate helplessly. This concerns TCF management.
Two years back TCF came up with an idea to have mentors conducting eight weeks long session with class nine students. They called it TCF Rahbar Program. The timing for mentees was aptly selected as it gave them a chance to hear different perspectives before making important decisions in their lives. Now two years later it has blossomed into a well coordinated network. All mentors and their coordinators are volunteers. Mentors gather at different pick points across the city and move to different school locations in TCF vans and private cars on each Saturday. Students are arranged in groups of six with two mentors assigned to each group. The agenda of sessions is carefully designed incorporating variety of activities which help students learn from their mentors. It includes activities like community visit, career counseling and a field visit.
You may have doubts if it adds any value and if children are taking you any seriously. Wait till you see students in the farewell session. It would give you ample evidence that they DID take you seriously. Some of girls would cry, some of girls would wave with tears in their eyes, some of boys would make fun of girls (they can’t help it), some of students would take autographs, some of them would take photographs.
All of them will miss you and so will you!