Helping Hand for Relief and Development’s (HHRD) Education Support Program (ESP) improves access to education for students, particularly those who live in poor and geographically remote areas of Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. HHRD strengthens the education system through upgradation and renovation of educational institutions, providing supplies for educational institutions, and provision of scholarships from primary to higher education. In all these projects, ESP provides equal opportunities to enhance male and female education. ESP began in 2010 with the vision of “providing quality education to students and taking Pakistan towards a knowledge-based economy”. This program is committed to increase and improve the access of education for all without any discrimination. HHRD recognizes education as a basic human right and one of the most direct and viable pathways out of poverty.
Asia Maqsood, an orphan from Pakistan, shares her story of how HHRD’s intervention paved the way towards a brighter future for her. “I was in third grade when my father passed away. His loss caused my family a lot of challenges. HHRD was the only organization that gave us hope to move on. HHRD was immensely helpful and kind; they started sponsoring my siblings and me under their Orphan Support Program and then continued it through their Education Support Program.
From 5th grade to 12th grade, HHRD supported our education and fulfilled my family's other needs. The organization provided me with many benefits during my sponsorship period. I received financial support for my school fee, uniform, shoes, books and stationery regularly. HHRD also provided a medical facility for my mother and me during my sponsorship. HHRD organized character-building programs, summer camps, Eid parties, iftars during Ramadan, picnics, tours, competitions, sports activities, etc. They arranged career counseling programs for us and developed our confidence in planning our careers.
I've always wanted to be a doctor, but it seemed uncertain that I could achieve that dream. Now, HHRD has given me an excellent opportunity to improve my prospects. HHRD gave me a scholarship to the Doctor of Physiotherapy (DPT) program at Helping Hand Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences, in Mansehra Pakistan. HHRD covers all my expenses, including the total tuition fee, uniform, shoes, books, and stationery. I stay in a dorm with hot meals and amenities. HHRD also supplied me with a new laptop as part of their scholarship program for DPT. I needed it to attend my classes online, complete my projects, and work during the pandemic.
I am grateful to HHRD and its donors for their support. Helping Hand provided me with all the necessities and helped my family in difficult times. May God bless HHRD and its donors; they will always be in our prayers. My mother always worried about the future of her only daughter; she wanted a dignified life for me with financial independence. Thanks to HHRD, I am working hard to make her hope a reality. Islam teaches us to serve humanity without discrimination of religion, caste, color, creed, or language because it is the righteous thing to do. Motivated by HHRD's generosity, this is now my purpose in life.”
ESP aims to further the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal #4 ‘Quality Education’. The objective of this goal is to ensure inclusive and equitable education for all by 2030. This will be done through improved learning, skills, and protection for children. ESP helps communities through scholarships, provision of school supplies, stipends, tutoring services, and home visits.
Education is the key to opening the doors of endless possibilities. Refugee children are given a chance a life and opportunity to change the trajectory of their lives. With a proper education they can in turn become tomorrow’s doctors, teachers, lawyers and leaders.