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Impact Update – Oct 2022

“One More Feather”

Greetings All,

Hope you all had a good summer and are ready for an equally eventful fall and winter. The children whom we serve are also back in schools. Their challenges are many, but these disadvantaged children persevere and so do we.

Pakistan has been through one the most devastating floods in its history and the aftereffects of this calamity continue to ripple out to more and more people. This misfortune has also affected FEF in the shape of soaring food prices. However, our resolve remains unaffected, and we continue our journey towards fulfilling our vision:

“To improve child learning and health by eradicating malnutrition and hunger in underprivileged school”.


Despite the difficult macro trends, we are pleased to share some progress we’ve been able to make over the last few months.

One More School!

We have added a 4th school in our network on the 6th of October. This too is a government school in the vicinity of our first kitchen in Baldia/Orangi town, named ‘Government Primary School Bismillah Mubarak’. The enrollment in the school is upwards of 400 but the attendance is around 280 – however we have seen that the provision of school meals has a trickle up effect on attendance. With this new school we are now serving 840 meals every day. Alhamdulillah!


Happy 2nd Anniversary

FEF’s second anniversary arrived in September. Reflecting upon what we set out to do and where we are, we would like to recognize that we are happy with our pace – each step that we take is deliberate and sure footed. On this anniversary we are happy to share with you, what we think is a watershed moment for us, the incorporation of FEF in USA. Yay! Through FEF USA, we will be able to reach out to more people in North America. We have also received tax exemption status which is generally known as 501 (c) (3) status in the USA. This will allow our donors there to claim exemption of income tax for their donations to us

“School meals are an investment and the return on investment is astoundingly high.”

– Sophie Healy-Thow, GAIN Youth Advocate at the recent School Meals Coalition Week, a virtual event held on Oct 10-14

As always, we are grateful to all of you out there cheering for us and spreading our message to others.

WITH WARM REGARDS, THANK YOU!

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Impact Update – Mar 2022

Greetings All,

Some months ago, we began to introduce FEF and its work through social media. Our thinking was that the more people know about our work the more support we will receive, and consequently the more schools we will be able to add to our network – remember the quote ‘today Germany tomorrow the world’, same spirit with a totally different motivation. When our messages started doing the rounds, we were surprised by the number of needy that reached out to us to provide to them, mostly unrelated to our cause. You’ll probably say, ‘obviously, what else did you expect’. Yeah! But what it did was further cement our resolve at FEF to continue doing our part and to continue it with stronger vigor.

As a result of our campaign, we now have schools asking us to start our program in Orangi, Lyari, Korangi and beyond Karachi – even in Thar, the desert area in Sindh that is most underdeveloped. In earnest, we would start today in all those places if we could, but I know that we have to pace ourselves with the flow of resources – Rome wasn’t built in a day. Judging from the distance we have covered since our start we are confident that we will soon be present in all those places and many more.

With all this in mind, here are some updates on the exciting things that have happened since we last spoke.

100,000 Meals Served!

On 14th February 2022, we crossed a landmark number of having served 100,000 meals. As you might remember, we currently provide free meals in our School Meal Programme (SMP) at three schools in Orangi, Karachi and have set-up a kitchen in the first that cooks for all the school that we currently serve. As we hit this great milestone, we are thankful – to our team on ground zero for making this happen on every school day, and to all of you out there who are quietly holding our hand extending the ‘giving chain’. The good news is that this chain is getting longer and longer by the day.


Cycle for Awareness

In partnership with all the local Karachi cycling groups, we held a cycling “ride-in” to raise awareness for our dear cause. The attendance was fantastic with over 200 cyclists joining us on the ride from Clifton to Hill Park. In this event, we were able to spread the word on the great work being done at FEF, and the response from those who attended was heartwarming.

Radio & TV Interviews

Not only are we getting interest from similar causes and donors, but the media is also showing interest in our cause. Within the last month, we were participants on Sindh Police FM 88.6’s Midnight show with Haris Khan and on The Morning Show at Samaa TV. Both were great experiences for us to spread the word through the radio waves to your radios and televisions. You can see the video clip on our YouTube channel below.

Finally, we are also launching on social media one of our videos that was especially made for furthering our cause. Hopefully, this will soon reach you all. If it doesn’t get to you, I will send you via the same mode as this newsletter. Please do spread FEF’s message to your contacts so people are aware of what we are doing and like I said, the more people join in the better for these underprivileged children.

We at FEF wish you a blessed month of Ramadan 2022

THANK YOU!

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Impact Update – Dec 2021

Greetings All,

“Because it’s there” was the retort by George Mallory, the English Mountaineer, when he was asked, “Why did you want to climb Mount Everest?” I recalled Mallory’s famous quote when I was recently asked by someone why were we providing free meals to these underprivileged children. We are doing what we are doing at FEF because it’s there, the need is there, for their health, for their growth, for their motor development, for their mental sharpness, for their IQ, for their school performance, for their future livelihood, and, and, and…….

Launching our Third School

We continue to march in our chosen direction. In October we added the third school to our network. This too, is in Orangi, Karachi. It is Government Primary School Qamar with an enrollment of 160, but actual attendance is much less. The inspiring piece is that soon after we started the first School Meal Program (SMP) here there was an uptick of 10 additional students attending. This is good news. We are hoping for the attendance to improve further.

Awareness is Spreading

We know that the true impact of our program will start to become evident when we have taken our SMP to scale. In our endeavor to do this we have to mobilize the social enterprise in the country to step in where public sector is deficient either due to lack of resources or lack or resolve. Either way, we are shortchanging the youth to enable them to blossom to their full potential. Awareness of our program is a must before it gets turbo charged. Recently, we were visited by the mainstream media, and I am glad to share their piece that was aired on TV news.

2022 and Beyond

At the close of the year, we are grateful for your help in bringing our program this far. At the time of writing this we have served over 80,000 freshly cooked meals to the disadvantaged children in schools. In 2021 we added 2 new schools, and doubled our children served (now at 500). 2022 will be an exciting year and we are setting an even more ambitious target of expanding to more schools and reaching 2,000 children everyday. This will be tough, but if we continue on this trajectory of more schools and therefore more children, we are confident we will be building a brighter future for our beloved country.

Please spread this message among your circles. Without you we wouldn’t have come this far.

We at FEF wish you a joyous and healthy 2022.

THANK YOU!

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Impact Update – Oct 2021

Greetings All,

We are very excited to share the news that we have now served over 50,000 meals to children through our School Meal Programme (SMP)! With your support, we have been able to continue on our journey and hit this great milestone.

Based on this success, we have started expanding the programme by adding a second school to our network which is also in Orangi, Karachi. This second school is a government run school where we have started the meal program after getting the necessary green signal from the provincial education department. Another school, which will be our third, has also been earmarked already. This, too, is a government run school. Both these are within a kilometer radius of our present kitchen so, logistically speaking, quite manageable. As we spread our program, we are considering the possibility of installing satellite kitchens in the various disadvantaged neighborhoods of Karachi, a city of over 16 million people. We will keep you informed as we take steps in that direction. Here are some pictures to share:

Over the last 18 months we were buffeted by Covid but as its impact has started to recede our visibility over the horizon has begun to improve a bit. This addition of a new school to our network feels like a watershed moment for us reassuring us to do some strategic planning towards our goal of expanding our footprint in the country. We are also looking at the possibility of taking our program to places in the middle of nowhere, places that would normally not attract much attention for initiatives such as ours. All in all, it looks sunny for FEF. 

By the way, we now have permission to receive funds from overseas directly into our account. For those of you who didn’t know non-profits’ bank accounts do not automatically become eligible for receiving funding from foreign accounts.

We, as always, are so grateful to all of you for helping us in continuing with our program. In being actively involved in this program we have felt, firsthand, the goodness of people, our friends, our families, and those beyond our immediate circle who have been forthcoming with their help reinforcing our belief that we can do it. Today 400 children tomorrow…..sky is the limit. 

Finally, do check out an interview of our Founder, Naveed Gilani, in the Pakistan & Gulf Economist here – share with your family and friends to spread the word. 

THANK YOU.

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Impact Update – Mar 2021

Dear All,
A few nights ago (9th March) I watched Dawn TV’s show Newseye. The discussion subject was off the beaten political track but spot-on FEF’s heart – child malnutrition in Pakistan. The stats shared by participants were quite damning for a country which has 80 million children. It further drove home the point around the negative economic and social consequences of a do-nothing approach, reinforcing our resolve to fight this menace as best we can. Like the allegory of the little hummingbird fighting the forest fire with only a drop of water at a time in its beak, responded to other animals’ mocking questions with “I am doing the best I can” – we are glad that we can say the same, ’we are doing the best we can’. And the heartening part is that unlike the lonely hummingbird we are all together in this – you and I and all the friends of FEF.

So, we are here on ground in Orangi, where our School Meal Program (SMP) restarted on the 1st of February after the schools re-opened again and I realized that it has been an year now since we served our first meal to the children. It has been in fits and starts due to Covid but we persevered. I also recognize that in the larger scheme of things, we still have to go the proverbial 999 steps since we have taken the first step. We started by serving 260 children and now we have 283, and are looking at expanding our reach to another school in Orangi (preferably a publicly managed school). We have reached out to the Ministry of Education for this.

We continue to look at ways and means to improve our delivery of nutrition to the children in schools. I am emboldened by the active participation of people with expertise in the various streams of knowledge that come together to make this initiative meaningful and impactful. We keep getting referred to a friend of a friend or a relation of a friend who is more than willing to help out. We are grateful, as all this stacks up to make us better at what we have set out to do.

Ramadan, the month of blessings, is just around the corner; we pray that it brings good tidings for all our friends. We solicit a small share of your giving for the future of the youth that we vow to serve. We also thank our existing supporters. Without you, we wouldn’t have come this far.

THANK YOU.

Schoolass

Impact Update – Nov 2020

Dear All,

Hope all of you are doing well and staying safe from the calamity of this novel virus, Covid-19. Since March it has had a major impact on education by interrupting the normal functioning of the schools. While we read and heard about the education being imparted online, our target school was unfortunately particularly affected as no online schooling was done.

Fortunately, we at FEF have been using this time to think through our program and implement improved ways of  creating measurable impact. We are excited to share the following updates.

When we started our program earlier in the year, we used a makeshift kitchen set up in a corner of the school administrator’s house next door. Taking full advantage of the long closure of schools, we have now constructed a fully functional kitchen at the school in Orangi. This new kitchen has a separate storage area in which we will be storing dry supplies such as rice, flour, etc., and has additional capacity to make food for other schools in the general area. This is a major milestone because, as you may know, we plan to expand our program to other schools as and when we have developed the financial capacity to do so. Soon, Inshah’Allah!

On September 28th when the schools re-opened for all classes, we restarted our School Meal Program (SMP). In restarting the meal program, one of our challenges has been the sharp increase in the cost of food supplies. We are bracing ourselves as we do realize that there will be other spikes in the future also, but we hope that they are not as sudden and sharp as the present one. In order to improve our nutritional value in the meals, despite the additional cost, we have managed to add chicken to our menu on two of the six days of the week. As we continue, we will keep on rejigging our menus to reduce the costs while improving the nutritional value. There is much to be learnt and much to be improved.

All of us and the children at the school are very grateful to all our friends and well-wishers who have whole-heartedly supported our meal program and continue to support. This support has ranged from earnest attaboys to substantial funds, and honestly speaking it has really emboldened our resolve to keep on going. In order for us to do that we will need continuous support from individuals, businesses, or even the government. We call on you and will continue to call on you for FUNDING; every penny, cent, paisa, or fils will go a long way. Please do DONATE and pass on this message to others in your circle of friends. Without you we would not have come this far and with you on our side we avow to go much farther – today Orangi tomorrow the entire country. 

Please accept our profound THANK YOU.

schoolasem

Impact Update – Feb 2020

Dear All,

From the wisdom of the sages of the world, to the collective sense of the world body, the United Nations, we know that if we want to build the future of the world we must invest in the youth. The best time to invest in them was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.

So, it is a no-brainer to say that I would invest in our children if I wanted to invest time and money in a worthwhile cause. And that, I would begin today. More so for us in Pakistan, where 34% of our children are under the age of 15 and 64% of our youth are under the age of 29. It can also be projected that we will continue to be a younger country for, at least, the next three decades. Through our investment we would want our children to grow mentally and physically to enable them to protect their own, their families, and their country’s future. Of all the initiatives that one could take for these children’s benefit, proper nutrition during their development period is crucial for them. Little known to most of us, hunger in classroom and malnutrition is widespread in Pakistan which inhibits our children to fully blossom and reach their true potential. We have therefore set out to combat the menace of malnutrition and classroom hunger.

Fortify Education Foundation (FEF) has been established where we endeavor to provide nutrition to our children in schools by providing freshly prepared meals every single school day. It is a “not-for-profit” organization anchored in ethical practices and good governance. Our Board of Governors are accomplished and respected Pakistanis who have voluntarily come together for the cause of the youth of Pakistan.

In February, we started our school meal program in a school in Orangi Town Karachi, where 260 children come to study. We began the preparation of the meals in a make-shift kitchen while a purpose-built kitchen is being constructed next to the school. For those of you living outside of Karachi, Orangi is the largest slum in the world where the population is severely disadvantaged in terms of their income levels and their living conditions. Our objective is to expand our program’s coverage first to other schools in the vicinity and later to other schools in the country.

In March, the meal program had to be temporarily halted due to the closure of the schools in response to the pandemic of Covid-19. Unfortunately, the general lockdown due to corona virus has had an adverse economic effect on the families living in the area. The impact has been unprecedented; they are on their knees. Like so many others, we, at FEF, decided to respond to this disaster by providing ration packs to the families in need in the areas adjoining the school. So far, we have provided 15-day rations to over 800 families and continue to do more. As soon as the situation eases, we will resume our work of providing nutrition to children in schools.

In furtherance of our objectives and to strengthen our ability to deliver, we seek partners, be they individuals, businesses, or large organizations. We strongly believe that with you on our side we can surely unleash the potential of the young ones to their fullest. Together we can do Powerful things.

Let us vow to ‘Leave No Child Behind’.