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’.