Courage and Conviction

Ms. Humaira is a soft hearted, caring individual. It was for this reason that she was drawn to teaching; this is where she finds her purpose, in her students.

Ms. Humaira is an English teacher at the Ersari Elementary School in Mari More, Attock. Attock is a city in the north of Pakistan’s Punjab district, the home of many Afghan refugees. Seeing the struggle these children will have accessing quality education, Humaira is motivated to help them.

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Ms. Humaira’s classroom is small—she teaches three classes each day, but has only 15 students. While the teacher-student ratio is ideal, the reasons for these small numbers is not. Many students in this region are barred from education because of poverty. The Ersari school is set in Attock, a city of more than 100,000 people, and has only ten classrooms. Obviously too small to accommodate all the prospective students, the school has plans and hope for improvement.

What makes the school special, are the teachers like Ms. Humaira, who have a passion for their students’ education. One dream Humaira has, that Barakat is helping her achieve, is to develop multimedia classrooms. She recognizes the advantage modern technology will give to learning. “It will facilitate the teachers by helping them keep a record of their lessons. It will help the students, because they will no longer have to cram their lessons.”—she has observed that her students cannot retain information well when they cram. “They will be able to learn a subject better and less time will be spent by a teacher in preparing a lesson on a multimedia platform … It will help my students understand the lessons better in a shorter period of time because the lesson will be taught with the help of pictures and videos … a picture is worth a thousand words.”

While her job is challenged by poverty, Ms. Humaira forges on as she battles for her students’ futures. “The greatest challenge for me to teach in the present situation … is the students’ not having uniforms and books … poverty is their biggest challenge.” Yet Ms. Humaira does not let this hold her back. Instead she makes sacrifices to ensure that her students succeed. “I try to help any student as much as I can. I provide them with moral and financial support.” She is also very hopeful that the school is progressing towards a brighter future with the aid of multimedia, “In my view, I can see a very bright future for the school if it is equipped with the latest educational facilities.”

One goal Barakat has for all of its schools is to have computer labs. What would a school in America be without computers To bring the students in Afghanistan and Pakistan up to speed, Barakat is working to provide them with the same necessary tools as their Western counterparts. It is our goal in 2012 to have at least 2 computer labs in two schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

What Ms. Humaira is doing is far from easy, but when asked where she finds the courage to teach, she responds, “When I look around and see needy but ambitious people, it gives me courage to help them by teaching them.”