Pakistan Partners’ Warm Welcome to Cosaraf

The Cosaraf Foundation’s Senior Strategic Advisor, Jonathan, received a warm welcome on his whistle-stop tour of Pakistan from our valued partners.  Accompanied by our Pakistan Director, Ahmer, they had a packed itinerary and were able to see the immense impact of the Foundation’s support.

The Fahmida Begum Foundation

The first stop on the tour was the Fahmida Begum Foundation.  Jonathan was able to see the school classes, medical clinic and feeding programme in action.  He also met two of the women supported through the elderly care provision and four students on education scholarships along with an extensive tour of the new premises.

The building is a significant improvement on the previous premises, providing a far more suitable environment for the Foundation’s services.  The improvements, such as the recently-installed solar power system and the large display screen, are great additions.

These improvements have led to good growth in the use of the Foundation’s services.  The increase in students, the queues for the medical clinic and for the lunchtime food distribution, all point to the value that the Foundation is adding to the local community.

Fahmida Begum Foundation is growing from strength to strength and the new premises and management are having a very positive impact.

The Fahmida Begum Foundation

Seed Ventures

SEED Ventures provided an overview of all of their current programmes, including the Enterprise Challenge Pakistan and the Women’s Empowerment Programme at the Fahmida Begum Foundation.

Enterprise Challenge Pakistan

The Enterprise Challenge Pakistan has started very positively this year with:

  • 95 schools enrolled across 15 cities;
  • 9000 students reached via the orientations;
  • 3000 student applications to participate; and,
  • 1425 students enrolled.

In another very positive development showing how the Cosaraf Foundation has fostered collaboration between our partners, the ECP this year is being delivered at The Noor Project and, excitingly, FESF’s Deaf Reach Schools.  The Finals will be held towards the end of February 2023 and will return to a live event in Karachi.

Women’s Empowerment Programme

The new programme ‘Empowered Women, Empowered Pakistan’ launched this week at Fahmida Begum Foundation. This joint project with SEED Ventures will allow women of Mehran Town to learn basic literacy training through technological intervention, skill development and entrepreneurial training.

The Noor Project

In Lahore, Jonathan visited The Noor Project.  The progress since the Foundation’s last visit in 2019 is staggering!  The new school building is stunning.  The school has expanded in size in terms of pupil numbers significantly.  To support the core curriculum, they have a wide range of activities such as arts, sport, a library, IT, being provided as well as extra-curricular opportunities such as Girl Guiding.

Whilst at the school, Jonathan was able to observe an Enterprise Challenge Pakistan session with the SEED Ventures team.  The students were clearly enjoying the ECP and the materials, including new videos developed during COVID are still used to good effect.

Jonathan was also able to observe the new hospital facility being built on the plot, which promises to be as impressive as the new school building.  The team are also planning a significant new vocational training building, which will also attract state funding from another Punjab State scheme to encourage skills development.

Having been given an overview of the Roti Project, Jonathan asked to visit one of the street vendors to see the programme live.  The project is based on the Turkish ‘pay it forward’ model and is very simple – but very effective!  Thanks to the scheme, which now involves some 250 street vendors across Lahore, they are providing tens of thousands of free rotis to those in need.

The new orphanage the COSARAF Foundation supported is now operational.  The building is spacious with good, shared living space and lovely grounds.  The staff team are welcoming and knowledgeable and Jonathan observed a strong rapport between staff and the girls.  There was a strong emphasis on education, external visits and other opportunities (including martial arts!).

FESF Deaf Reach

Jonathan’s final destination was to FESF to see the Deaf Reach school and adult vocational training for hearing-impaired beneficiaries.  The centre itself is a fantastic resource, having been gifted by the State and renovated with significant support from a philanthropist.

There were no school students present but the staff team, many of whom are hearing-impaired, are professional, dedicated and caring.  The classrooms are well-equipped and very well-maintained, as well as other facilities such as the art room and pottery room.  There were numerous examples of the work of the students, including products they have made and which are sold to the public.  The FESF team are looking forward to students’ participation in the Enterprise Challenge Pakistan.

Jonathan was able to see the vocational training in action, including the on-site garment factory supported by Saphire (a significant local clothing producer) and they help the company recruit significant numbers of hearing-impaired staff.   The employability work of FESF is very impressive; as well as vocational training, they act as a recruitment agency for a wide range of employers, securing hundreds of jobs for hearing-impaired individuals.  One notable example is their relationship with KFC, where they have helped recruit 250 staff to work in their restaurants; one KFC restaurant in Karachi has an entirely deaf staff team thanks to this relationship!

A jam-packed few days visiting our valued partners, after such a long covid-induced break. We cannot wait to see you all again and immerse ourselves in the positive impact you are delivering throughout Pakistan.

Other News

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Donation to support vital Hertfordshire helpline

The COSARAF Foundation has awarded £3,500 to pay towards the full call handling service to support the ongoing services of the Hertfordshire Domestic Abuse Helpline.

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Supporting STEM careers for gifted girls

We have been supporting the African Gifted Foundation for a number of years now, annually sponsoring a female student , to complete their accelerated studies in further education to access university for careers in STEM.

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New micro-finance project in Pakistan

The COSARAF Foundation are excited to be partnering with the GEAR Trust to deliver a new project in micro-finance supporting the poor and needy into self-employment in Pakistan.

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