Our Family Visit to HDF Program Sites
Our visit commenced early on a Sunday morning with the arrival of a rusty medium-sized tour bus, equipped with a guide from HDF. All seven of us piled onto the bus, and we began our drive towards the first school in Malir. It was about an hour ride outside of Karachi where we began. Upon arrival at the first school, with just two makeshift classrooms filled to the brim with children eager to learn. What the school lacked in structure it made up for in passion. The children’s eyes brimmed with the eagerness of another lesson, and the teacher was enthusiastic about their progress and matched their passion for education. When we first entered the school and began to converse with the children, they were reluctant to open up to foreign strangers; however, after a short period of time and a bit of cajoling, they let down their guard and eagerly expressed to us how much they love learning, and how excited they are to continue their education. The teacher later told us that many of these children were straight off the street, and would not be able to receive any education, if not for the HDF school they were attending. The children responded to our questions regarding their needs by asking for uniforms and backpacks. We are hoping to be able to provide these children with both in the near future.
Next, we loaded the bus again and ventured to another medical clinic. At the clinic, we were able to speak to two doctors about their work serving the community. It was clear that these doctors were well educated and could have had multiple opportunities in the city, however, they had chosen to donate their time and effort to this small HDF clinic to help those in need. We asked specifically about diabetes in the community, as well as mental health care, prenatal care, and feminine hygiene. The doctors were open and honest about the work they had done so far, and what they were lacking due to the limited resources of the clinic. We were soon shooed out of the office due to the large crowd of patients in the waiting room. It was instantly clear how valuable the clinic was to the community, and how much more they could serve the people with increased resources in the form of medicine and equipment.
Finally, the last stop on the visit was to a secondary school. This school was a girls’ school for 1st grade through O level exams. The school also had a sewing class for girls who had graduated, or who did not attend the school but wanted to advance their sewing skills. In each class we entered, we were greeted with respect and the girls introduced themselves. Although quiet at first, they soon began to reveal their dreams of becoming doctors, lawyers and engineers. It was encouraging to see their passion for further education and to later discover that their parents were equally passionate and supportive of these dreams. The principal, a young woman who had an advanced degree in zoology but had chosen to leave her esteemed position and become a principal for this HDF school, expressed to us that parents come to her begging her to find ways for their girls to go to college, however she is limited by the fact that there is no public school near enough for the girls to attend, and these families cannot afford to send their girls to the private school fifteen minutes away. We were disheartened to hear how difficult it is for girls to continue their education in Malir when they have so many ambitions and aspirations. We hope to be able to create scholarships and opportunities for more of these girls to attend further education. Many of them want to return to their communities and advance their hometown through their education. It is their courage that allows them to dream of a better future; it is this dream that motivates them to serve their community, and it is this commitment to serving their community that will ultimately create lasting and impactful change.
If you have visited one of our HDF sites in Pakistan, we'd love to hear from you. Contact our office at 847-490-0100