For our Pakistan Calendar 2021, we spent weeks looking for a suitable organization, a great project and ambitious people in order to donate part of our proceeds in a targeted manner. We wanted to support something that is sustainable and is not limited to one age group or one gender. And for us, sustainability means that our contribution ends up in a place where long-term success can be achieved – what could be better than education?
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” (Nelson Mandela)
As Westerners we are blessed by a certain standard of education. We have continuous access to education in (almost) all areas of society. We can go to school without having to help our family with their daily work. We can go to school without paying huge sums of money. We can go to school and just be kids. But not everyone can do that.
Of course in Pakistans big cities such as Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, parts of the population can live a very upscale life. However, there are also areas in the country where education is simply not available – be it due to a lack of infrastructure in the north or violent conflicts in the West of the country. And that is exactly what our dream organization Innovate Educate Inspire Pakistan takes care of. We couldn’t have asked for a better NGO than IEI. Really! And that’s exactly why we are all the more pleased to donate 3 euros from our Pakistan Calendar 2021 directly to IEI and the many projects that this young organization implements every year.
What is “Innovate Educate Inspire Pakistan”?
Innovate. Educate & Inspire (IEI) Pakistan is a small registered non-profit organization working with schools, communities and volunteers to support holistic child development by improving the quality & experience of education in remote northern valleys of Pakistan.
We have a diverse portfolio which includes working inside the school on school development programs & outside in the community to create environments that support learning. Our programs are facilitated by volunteers who join us for a variety of roles from teachers, artists, architects to doctors.
The use of innovative tools & strategies to reform public schools is essentially at the heart of what we are working on whether it is our literacy, science & climate awareness programs, setting up inclusive spaces like libraries & digital labs within schools, digital literacy & use of edtech in classrooms & exploring the role of art & sport in holistic child development.
Who is the team behind IEI?
IEI Pakistan is founded by a Software Engineer & Artist duo. Marvi Soomro & Rehmat Kareem founded the organization in 2016 with an intervention based program with a public school in the remote Misgar Valley of Hunza. Marvi Soomro takes the role of the Programme Director at IEI Pakistan while Rehmat Kareem is the Director Art & Spaces. We also have on board Sameer Warraich who is an alumni volunteer & now looks after outreach & fundraising.
We have a very fluid extended team because we operate in a volunteer model. Volunteers are recruited for our programs each year, these volunteers travel & live in-residence for the duration of the programs.
How will our donations be used?
Donations are what make our programs possible and allow us to continue employing creative and innovative tools to support education. All donations received are used to carry out program operations, at the moment our active program is the School Development Program which is a response to COVID-19 and is focused on creating education equity through alternate learning channels, support to teachers in remote & low-income contexts & partnerships with low-fee schools for ESL Literacy Programs.
What were recent projects accomplished by IEI?
Our most recent project is still ongoing and is called the Distance Learning Program. During the largest scale education crisis due to covid-19 school closures IEI Pakistan launched IEI Radio, a 12 week Radio learning program to help create education access for children in remote mountain valleys where unavailability of internet caused disengagement from education. IEI Radio, in agreement with Radio Pakistan Gilgit, broadcast in an area with a population of 1.9 million and created access to learning in the most remote mountain valleys in the region.
The program broadcast 60 foundation level english literacy lessons for primary learners, roughly 2100 mins of English language learning through radio and also provided health messages & social emotional well-being support. Over weekends the program broadcast small, interesting stories including inspiring science stories.
We also raised our voice at multiple platforms including print & social media and online conferences to create awareness on the need for education equity & digital access for all.
Some of the past work highlights of IEI include:
- 5 programs with 4 schools in 3 remote valleys of Upper Hunza, Gilgit Baltistan.
- Setting up 3 Libraries & Computer Laboratories in 3 public schools in remote northern valleys. Collected 2000+ books in donations.
- 1 year long School Improvement Program with a remote public school in Shimshal Valley.
- 3 month climate awareness program with primary & secondary school children.
- Recruited 40+ volunteers as education leaders.
- Teacher Capacity Building for 20+ teachers.
- Conducted the first Robotics & Programming Workshop with primary and secondary school children in the GB region.