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Umeed Schools and SDG 5 in Pakistan

Ayesha Habib | Pakistan

'In September 2015, along with 195 countries concurred, The United Nations General Assembly set 17 interlinked global goals, known as the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs)or The Global Goals. The purpose of these goals is to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030. They apply to all nations and mean, to ensure that no one is left behind. The list of Global Goals includes targets like No poverty, Zero hunger, Climate Action stand on 1st, 2nd, 13th respectively along with 14 other Goals. On 6th July 2017, these goals were further directed to achieve specific targets along with indicators to measure progress toward each target.

"Upon the Subject of Education, I can only say that I view it as the most important subject which we as a people may be engaged in."

- Abraham Lincoln

'Quality Education' is being marked 4th on the Global Goals list, based on its impact on almost all SDGs. The sub-targets of this Goal include free primary and secondary Education, Education of Sustainable Development, access to higher Education, along with the other 4 targets, following 3 means of actual application and 12 indicators.

"From ending poverty to improving health to curbing climate change, the success of Sustainable development agenda depends on progress in Education. We need to lean in and build the political will and financial momentum to make quality education for all a reality"

- Alice Albright, Chief Executive Officer, Global Partnership for Education

On December 3rd 2018, and onwards, to appreciate the role of peace and development resulting in the spread of Education, 24th January was marked as International Day of Education.

"We must do far more to advance Sustainable Development Goal 4, to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all"

- UN Secretary-General António Guterres

To accomplish the Sustainable Development in Quality Education, there have been several contributions and involvements of non-profit Non-Government Organizations. Below, I will cover just some of the amazing work being done by one nonprofit in Pakistan

Umeed Schools

One of them is Umeed (A drop of hope) Schools, Foundation. Umeed, (the literal meaning in English is Hope) is a project of Schools to spread Quality Education to Children from destitute areas. Back in 2017, Hassan Ashraf initiated the Projec (A student himself) whose aim is to provide education to all the children living in underprivileged areas, and to bring a more positive and brighter picture of Pakistan to the world. Hassan currently is the CEO of the project. He oversees the whole initiative, and is educating, and spreading hope to more than a thousand children under his care along with his team. Team Umeed is working on the agenda of spreading Quality Education believing that 'Education is the birthright of every human', from both a worldwide and religious perspective. Their Mission statement is "Eradicating illiteracy all over the globe, in the name of hope."

The Umeed project works on:

  1. Quality Education to children in underprivileged areas

  2. Spreading the circle of free education to children, whose parents are financially weak and cannot afford education expenditures

  3. Bringing the light of education to children bound by labour

  4. All the Education provided is free of cost during the evening time

Current Progress

Until now, the Umeed Foundation has funded 12,000 charity projects around the globe for 20 million people. The projects supported pure water and healthy food distribution for the poor, medical facilities for those in need, and quality education for every child. Tharparkur (Thar), a district of the Pakistani province of Sindh, is unfortunately facing the most alarming challenges in terms of Basic Education. Keeping the spirit of hope alive, Umeed Schools have reached out there. They are the first and only school in that district, providing basic, quality education and skills to thrive for the future of the children there. Another remarkable project being initiated under the banner of Umeed Schools is working to break stereotypes about girls' education, as well as sustaining gender equality in education for girls.

Some upcoming projects to be achieved by 2023 as part of Umeed Schools (Foundation) include:

1) Brick Kiln schools for all the child labourers working in Brick Kiln across Pakistan, to get them their basic right of education, and to make them aware of their basic rights. Team Umeed and their teachers will be working to start this new chapter very soon. While addressing labour laws and getting these children out of these conditions is also important, getting them access to quality education is one of the first steps in that process as well.

2) Umeed Schooler (Mobile School Service) is another soon-to-be initiated project by Umeed Foundation. This is essentially a loaded van with basic school necessities like a blackboard, tables, chairs, books, and stationary. It is accompanied by volunteer teachers to several rural areas of Pakistan and providing children in need the basic primary education of reading, writing and mathematics.

3) IT education programs for children, improving the quality of the education they are achieving so that it is up-to-date with our fast-paced, technology-driven world, and enabling sustained growth.

In Pakistan, there are 5.5 Million Children who are being deprived of their right to Quality Education, whether based on the unavailability of educational resources, financial instability of Parents, or the remote areas in which they live. Projects like Umeed Schools are a ray of hope to all those children who can make a significant impact in society when they are educated. The presence of Projects like 'Umeed' that are working hard to spread quality education are essential to advancing SDG 5 in Pakistan.


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