One has to be patient to witness the full scale of the impact of education. After all, it takes years from the moment a child steps into a school for the first time to the point she graduates with a Matric or equivalent qualification. Today, the TCF family is overcome with a sense of pride and overwhelming joy to see most of our alumni pass out with flying colours and go out into the world equipped with the skills and knowledge to make a positive impact in society and to navigate through life successfully. Just over two decades since we sowed our first few seeds of hope in the form of our TCF schools, we have now come to a point where we are witnessing the harvest of our love and labour. We had to wait, but it has all been worthwhile.
Many of our graduates have now moved on to acquire higher education at some of the top Universities in Pakistan and elsewhere. Others have successfully obtained gainful employment while many more have returned to TCF as teachers. All of these educated and empowered alumni are now carrying forward the torch of enlightenment, all in their own unique way. Above all, most of them hold on to a strong sense of social responsibility which they manifest by committing to serving their communities in whatever capacity they can. Let us take you on a short journey where you can glimpse into the lives of some of our change agents.
Let’s meet Wajid Ali, 26, an alumnus of TCF’s Al-Ghurair campus in Minhala who has successfully utilised his keen sense of entrepreneurship to run his own farming venture. After TCF, Wajid continued to acquire further education while also taking up his family profession of farming to contribute to the household income during his father’s illness. Having developed a passion for his newfound trade, Wajid decided to take up the profession full-time. 7 years on, Wajid is loving every moment of his chosen vocation, which allows him to earn a decent living through the sale of his crops at Lahore’s main wholesale vegetable markets. Over the years Wajid has utilised his knowledge and education to implement various innovations and techniques which result in good quality and yield. Today, he has trained and hired a team of young people from his community who assist him with running his venture. In doing so, he is actively helping in the uplift and betterment of his community.
Sumbul Asad Sheikh from Rehri Goth, Karachi, also decided to utilise her education to work for the betterment of both self and society. Graduating from TCF in 2012 she went on to complete her Intermediate from the Government Girls’ Degree College in Karachi. Perturbed by the dearth of doctors and other health practitioners in her locality, she decided to enroll for the community midwife diploma at Kohi Goth Hospital, where she is studying on scholarship. Speaking about her chosen path, Sumbul says: ‘I really want to make a difference in my community. It saddens me to see women struggling with pregnancy and birth related complications and having no help at hand. I want to be able to help and improve mother and child health in my community’. With one year remaining before she gets qualified, Sumbul can’t wait to return to Rehri Goth and work with local clinics.
Mehreen Khan, a TCF alumnus now pursuing her undergraduate course in Social Development Policy, knows the value of quality education as she has had to struggle to get where she is today. Upon her graduation from TCF’s Saeedabad Campus, Karachi, in 2014, Mehreen set her eyes upon attaining higher education. Mehreen was one of the first few beneficiaries of TCF’s newly formulated Alumni Development Programme (ADP), geared towards preparing TCF alumni for admission into top-rated Universities in Pakistan. Mehreen was always irked by the dual education system prevalent in Pakistan, where one, catering to the privileged, grants access to top employers and Universities, while the other produced graduates who struggle to achieve their dreams. Speaking of her future goals, Mehreen says: ‘I want to utilise the learnings for this course to formulate and implement better education policies to bridge this divide’.
Finally, Asad Sajid is making a difference by contributing his time and skills through the TCF Ambassadors at IBA, a part of ADP. Enrolled at the Institute of Business Administration’s (IBA) Computer Science programme, Asad desires to do his MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. It took years of dedication and hard work for Asad to come this far in life. Asad holds deep regard and gratitude for his mentors and teachers at school and acknowledges the role they played to help him succeed. Now, he wants to be a source of inspiration for others. ‘I devote my time to ADP so other TCF alumni can fulfill their higher education dreams. I feel it is an honour and my duty to pass on my knowledge and skills to others’.
The stories and life trajectories of Wajid, Mehreen, Sumbul, Asad and those of countless other TCF alumni, taken together, beautifully weave a narrative of social change and uplift. Through your contributions and commitment to TCF, we would be able to forge ahead with our mission to educate and empower many more such children from underserved backgrounds; children who would then grow into responsible, socially aware adults, capable of crafting a better future for themselves, their families and society at large.