Helping them Dream: Microsoft Devices’ gift to The Garage School

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A few days ago Microsoft Devices Pakistan donated computers to The Garage School (TGS) located in Karachi Pakistan. It was an impressive initiative that could help underprivileged students getting quality and free IT education. Following is the story coming from the school after their students’ experience with the computers.

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It was 1998 when Shabina Mustafa decided to use the garage at her place as a school for kids who couldn’t afford education; the rest as they say is history. The Garage School (TGS), now in its 14th year of imparting education to underprivileged children, is a sanctuary for some 400 students who are eager to sponge in as much knowledge as they can from their teachers. It predominantly functions as a stepping stone; a place where students are groomed and prepared for accommodation into mainstream institutions. In a country where the illiteracy rate is 79% with an alarmingly high number being amongst the age bracket of 15-24 years, initiatives like TGS make sure that the youth is being prepared for a challenging tomorrow.

Expanding the school from the ambits of a garage, the school is now housed on a 3600 sq. feet building. Each year, around 90 students are enrolled to the facility, creating deficiency of space and an increase in expenses. Due to the increasing number of students, TGS operates in two shifts, morning and afternoon. The morning shift caters to elementary school children from Pre-Nursery to Grade 5 while the afternoon shift concentrates on the education of street kids, adult literacy, empowering women through financial and academic education, and vocational training programs. The children are not only provided with academic classes, but also vocational training classes such as carpentry, computers, cutting, sewing and embroidery. Shabina Mustafa has always stressed on adopting an interfaith approach where students from all backgrounds study together, and move forward together, as a community. The school has been built on the basic philosophy that education is important in eradicating poverty and hunger and in promoting sustained, inclusive and equitable economic growth and sustainable development in the country.

Knowledge and education are key factors to the full and effective participation of youth in the processes of social, economic and political development. Increased attention is needed towards improving participation rates of marginalized youth to ensure that they acquire the knowledge, capacities, skills and ethical values needed to fulfil their role as agents of development, peace, social inclusion, and tolerance,

said Ms. Shabina Mustafa. She also added,

My basic aim is not just to give them education but to make sure they stand on their feet. I want to groom my students into becoming successful; more importantly, I want them to become good human beings.

Students are provided free education, funded through sponsorship programs and donations from friends and members of TGS. Various organizations have donated educational materials to the school, with the most recent being computers from Microsoft Devices Pakistan.

My teacher today asked me to write about the 10 computers which arrived at our school recently and to thank a company called Microsoft. She says this company gifted us these computers so that we may use the technology to become better students and learn more about the world,

said Rafia with a thoughtful smile on her face.

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Rafia (A student at The Garage School)

She also told about her feelings about computers,

I love computers! They have so many games that we can play. My favorite is the pinball one, where you have to use the keyboard and stop the ball from falling down. I also like learning about the world and people, because one day I plan to travel around the globe, make new friends and eat different types of food. Since the computers have arrived, I always want to be in the computer lab, but our teacher only allows us to visit twice a week. Still I am very excited and have learnt a lot by using these computers. Thank you, Microsoft for this wonderful gift!

It is imperative more organizations like Microsoft Devices come together to support agents of social change like Ms. Shabina and her brainchild, TGS. It is only through such mutual partnerships and high value collaborations that community/city based charities and NGOs will be able to sustain themselves and their objectives into the unforeseeable future.

 

Source: The Garage School (TGS)

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