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    Investing in skills, planting seeds for the future

    Day 203

    Growing Up Gardening

    Hello everyone! My name is Fatima. I’ve been a Community Mobilizer with Alight in Pakistan, and I absolutely love what I do.

    A big part of my job is to spend time with communities – getting to know them, building relationships, learning what’s needed and how we can get more kids back to school. I’m so excited to take you with me for the next five days as we work with them to implement projects that, I believe, will really make a difference in their lives!

    Let’s get started with Day One – in Muslim Colony, a neighborhood of Islamabad!

    When we were sitting as a team, thinking about the different things we could do to help, one thing came to mind right away. Much of the time the families we work with just don’t have enough food. So many of the children come to school without food, without having eaten. As you can imagine, this is a huge problem for the kids – nutritionally and otherwise. How can you concentrate with a growling stomach?

    But more than just providing a hot meal, we wanted to instill learning and skills with the kids who attend our non-formal schools so that they can learn to supplement their own nutrition in the future….our idea? Kitchen gardens.

    We wanted to teach kids the skills of gardening and how to take care of plants, so that they’ll know how to grow gardens on their own one day – they can reap the nutritional benefits and supplement their meals. Plus, they might even sell the extra produce for a boost in income.

    We went house to house in Muslim Colony to talk to people and ask what we should plant and teach the kids how to grow. “We can grow everything here!” they told us, “all the fruits and vegetables!” So we planted seeds for apples, salad leaves, tomatoes, okra, squash, cilantro, and more.

    When I saw how tenderly the children were taking care of their plants, it really touched my heart. They couldn’t wait to show me what a good job they had done!

    This is a kind of hope for them, that they can make things better for themselves. No matter how difficult things get, they can always do small things to make life better for the future.

     

    Meet Fatima!

    Fatima works for Alight in Pakistan as a community mobilizer. A big part of her job involves finding new communities to work with, developing strong relationships with that community, and working jointly to ensure that no child is out of school. Her greatest hope is to bring big, positive changes to the people she meets every day, and especially for young girls who haven’t yet been to school. What inspires her most when she works with communities is how welcoming everyone is. She feels like family – she sees these girls like her own daughters, and hopes that they see her as family, too.

    When she’s not out and about, she loves decorating her home, cooking, and hosting people – her next new hobby is to learn how to paint landscapes!

     

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