DEWA FOUNDATION – Peace through Education

The never-ending war alongside the Pak-Afghan border has destabilized the entire region, severely affecting the border province of Balochistan in Pakistan. An illiterate poverty stricken youth has lost direction and has become the breeding ground to the terrorist groups to recruit more fighters.

To counter the root cause of the destruction head-on, Asghar Khan initiated a campaign in 2013 to convince the people of tribal region to educate their children. The campaign led to the establishment of DEWA Foundation.

DEWA is a non-profit, charitable educational foundation whose objective is to provide low cost quality education to the under privileged populous of tribal areas of Balochistan.

After completing his MBA in 2012, he had option to have left his home town for a better future. However, an escapist approach was a sort of self-defeating zone for him. Those who were left behind were also his beloveds. Therefore, he decided to wage his own battle, a battle for peace and light.

CAMPAIGN OBJECTIVES

To contribute to overcome instability, illiteracy and poverty through education.

DEWA foundation recognizes that the root-cause of the devastation across the Pak-Afghan region is the lack of education. DEWA works to provide low-cost quality education to the most underprivileged rural communities in Balochistan. DEWA schools prepare the underprivileged children to be useful citizens; contributing towards the socio-economic uplift of their families and the region.

DEWA foundation is a team of Professionals who have devoted their selves to ensure a better future through education specifically of Balochistan and generally of Pakistan. Foundation aims to see Balochistan a progressive and prosperous region by educating the new generation.

HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED

The first objective achieved was the conduct of successful awareness campaign regarding peace through education. Later on campaign established two schools in far flung areas of Balochistan. Number of students in Marghazakryazai campus in 2014 was 81, and in 2015 number rose to 92. Khanozai campus was established in November 2015 and so far 42 students have enrolled and the number for both the campuses are expected to rise as the last date for admissions is 31st march 2016. In order to promote women empowerment and reduce poverty, DEWA employed 13 female teachers, 2 watchmen, 2female canteen contractors in both campuses. The education system also equally addresses the co-curricular development of its students. To that end, DEWA schools successfully organized cricket, volleyball and football tournaments. The youth of district Pishin actively participated in these events, the reason behind these events was that we believe such events can reduce extremist trends among children and youth.

CAMPAIGN INNOVATIONS

Promoting education in this part of the world is itself a novel idea for the masses. To work for any change is a challenge in the region. DEWA achieves its objectives through working on ideas that effectively convinces the masses. DEWA attracts female enrollments in the schools by employing female faculty in its schools. Employing female faculty has been a challenge; however, DEWA successfully engaged the rare enlightened families, who let their educated women to work.
DEWA foundation works to sustain the low-cost education in the rural areas by its schools in the urban centers through its idea called “The Joycation”. Under this idea, the relatively higher tuition fee in the urban cities is used to sustain the DEWA schools in tribal areas.

CAMPAIGN IMPACT

Through Asghar’s sincere endeavors, a number of families have realized the social awareness. One of the hindrances in Pakistan's progress is Women Empowerment, specifically in remote areas. However, DEWA’s efforts have alleviated gender discrimination. Keeping in consideration the tribal norms, DEWA Foundation broke the long silence for their rights and gave them opportunity to inaugurate their carriers as school teachers which have pronged effects; revamping economical pyramid and countering poverty. Till date 100% staff is female. This Foundation is providing a motivating and conducive environment to students to polish their personalities holistically by conducting different curricular, co-curricular and extracurricular activities. DEWA believes that these activities reduce extremist trends among children. Including the local communities DEWA mobilized them towards the importance of education as a result, the enrolment ratio has been increased and the dropout ratio decreased.

CHALLENGES FACED

Almost large portion of our tribal area is reluctant to accept the change. They were accustomed to old school of thoughts where young ones are discouraged even if he/she comes with enchanting ideas.
As the source of funds of foundation is charity, so the biggest hurdle faced was financial constraint.
Encouraging women by any means is almost tabooed in his native area. Moreover child education is an alien concept for the elders even. Implementing the idea of education was counted as a non-ethical gesture. Asghar himself was naïve to this field; therefore, he came across various unexpected cultural issues which were directly or indirectly non-parallel to his vision "Educating the Nation".
The word 'Taliban' is no more novel to any sensible beings. This incurable malady has affected Asghar’s home town as wel. The schooling system, through their eyes is anti-religious. So, in other words, whosoever follow the footstep of schooling,surprisingly, they will endure some unbearable aftermaths.

LESSONS LEARNT

The lessons that Asghar learnt was that there was no smooth sailing between his dream and the reality. In the initial phase of the campaign the ultimate objectives seemed impossible but as the saying goes where there is a will there is a way. During the course of this campaign Asghar confronted many social and financial problems; however, these problems open new doors for unique ideas. For instance “The Joycation”. The basic theme of this social entrepreneurial idea is, “A profitable school in metropolitan city (The Joycation) will sustain a non-profitable school of DEWA Foundation in tribal area”. He knows that it’s the beginning and there is a long way to go but he believes that with firm resolution and dedication he can overcome these hurdles and can achieve his ultimate dream (Ka Khudai Kawal).