Improving Public Education in Pakistan
Interview by Isra Batool - One Young World Ambassador Tahira Bachal talks to us about her purpose in life.
Tell us about yourself. Who is Tahira Bachal?
I am an educationalist. My aim is to help those who can’t afford to pay for good education and to find home grown solutions. I started teaching the girls in my community at the age of twelve, despite the societal resistance I faced. Because of this, a group of my friends and I were inspired to co-found Dream Foundation Trust.
In my spare time, I have actively participated in various international networks representing Pakistan at the global level, such as Activista of ActionAid, South Asia Regional Youth Network, and Global Shapers Community of Economic Forum.
What are you passionate about and why?
I am very passionate about changing the education system and improving the quality of public education in Pakistan. As of now, the financially, well-off people can afford a reasonably good education, whereas poor children remain deprived.
Public schools are attended only by impoverished communities in Pakistan, where teacher attendance is can be less than 50%. I aim to end this discrimination and to negotiate with the ministry of education to help improve public educational standards. Dream Foundation Trust (DFT) has devised TeacherTraining Programmes where public school teachers go through a series of rigorous training courses to improve their teaching methods.
Tell us more about Dream Foundation Trust (DFT) and how has it contributed to the Pakistani community.
Dream Fondation Trust is a registered NGO in Pakistan and aspires to improve the quality education for the under privileged children through DMSS, women skills development, relief for victims of natural calamities, small business grants, awareness & advocacy campaigns, Ending Fistula in Pakistan. However, education has always been the prime focus of DFT and most resources have been directed to this.
There are 751 students enrolled, and 36 teachers in our school. Funding for school construction was provided by Engro Vopak Terminal Ltd and Catapult & the American Singer, Madonna. Additionally, Sindh Education Foundation has provided funds since 2010, which covers the majority of our school operational costs.
What are the next steps for Dream Foundation? How do you want to increase or sustain the social impact Dream Foundation is creating?
Improving the quality of education is DFT’s main focus. Moving forward, we aim to obtain registration with Aga Khan University Examination Board, which will illuminate the problem we face with cheating and unfair examination processes. AKU-EB is our hope to a progressive education system, but it definitively will take more time.
I want to further amplify the quality of education and create opportunities for DFT Alumni who pass the matriculation examination.
My long-term goals include opening a Dream College and University for the community of Moach Goth (who travel between 20-35 Kilometers to attend classes) and creating a business hub (a safe space for women to come together and make traditional clothes to sell in the market) I also want to create a Peace Park for young children, where they can play peacefully.
You attended One Young World (OYW) 2017 Summit in Bogota through a scholarship. How was your experience? How has it helped you with your goals and with Dream Foundation Trust?
The experience was no-doubt tremendously wonderful. I greatly enjoyed meeting new people and learning about their initiatives. I met a Nigerian guy who uses waste to create artistic materials, and teaches his neighborhood the craft so they can earn money for their own creations.
The experience filled me with inspiration and gave me a new hope to fight for dreams like improving Pakistan’s public-school system. I built relationships with people and we agreed to collaborate in the future on initiatives such as exchange programmes for students of the DFT community.
Pakistanis are multitalented and doing great things in all over the country. Many have become entrepreneurs and have founded start-ups through which they are making a difference in their respective communities. Scholarships to OYW will not only help them grow and learn from others, but would also provide them with global exposure experience.
Who is your inspiration?
I am totally inspired by Justin Trudeau and Muniba Mazari.
Justin Trudeau is a down to earth man. I call him a street guy who greets people of all races with equality and above all, has a kind heart.
Muniba Mazari is a resilient woman. Despite being physically impaired, she worked harder to become Pakistan’s First Wheelchair Bound Model, as well as an artist, show host, Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women Pakistan, a creative writer and a singer. Her lifestyle gives everyone an inspiration to believe in one’s self.
About the Interviewer
Besides her full time work in Capital Markets in finance; Isra has worked for UN,Salvation Army, G20, & G8 Summits, and is currently helping P3 Collective in building a robust structural framework to help young Pakistanis.
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