Happy New Year 2022! The journey to transform public schools through program interventions and changes in policy legislation has not been linear over the past year, however, Zindagi Trust has stayed true to its mission and continued to make significant strides under Advocacy, Infrastructure, and Special Programs. 

Please read further below for an update on our work in the domains of Advocacy, Infrastructure, and Special Programs throughout the year.

Prohibiting Corporal Punishment | Teacher Performance Evaluation Overhaul | Child Protection Action Dialogue | Outreach | Our Achievements | Feeling Safe at SchoolsBursting at the Seams With Art | Day of Summer | Digital Excellence | Vaccinated Campuses | Learning Beyond Classrooms | Critical Thinking and Learning | Message from our CEO | Partnerships in 2021
Despite the school closures during the early months of 2021, we worked closely with the government officials and pushed for changes in policy legislation, which resulted in a number of wins for the teachers as well as students across Pakistan.
Prohibiting Corporal Punishment
Zindagi Trust has been advocating for an end to corporal punishment for over 8 years. Our efforts resulted in a successful petition in Islamabad High Court in 2018 which led to the suspension of Section 89 of the Pakistan Penal Code and dismissal of the use of corporal punishment on legal grounds. 
However, this was not the end of our journey; Zindagi Trust then embarked on a campaign to legislate and prohibit all forms of corporal punishment in education institutions. After a sustained effort, the National Assembly of Pakistan unanimously passed the ICT Prohibition of Corporal Punishment Bill in February 2021, which later became part of the legislation in the parliament on 17th November 2021.

Bringing an end to corporal punishment is an integral step towards safeguarding children’s rights and we feel pleased to have the support of lawmmakers and government officials on our journey to help create creating safer schools in Pakistan. 
Teacher Performance Evaluation Overhaul
On June 2nd 2021, the Sindh Government approved a new annual teacher performance evaluation report for government teachers, with the performance evaluation metrics now examining factors directly related to teaching and content mastery. Prior to this, government teachers were annually audited under a generic Annual Confidential Report (ACR) template which was applicable to all civil servants from grade 9 to 16 across all occupations. 

Zindagi Trust began lobbying for a revamped ACR in 2018, after identifying a significant disconnect between the actual responsibilities of teachers and how their performance was being evaluated in schools. The previous evaluation criteria took into account factors such as typing speed, financial integrity, and observance of security measures, which have no link to the role of a teacher role and their scope. Consequently, this led to lack of accountability for under-performing teachers and failed to highlight exceptional teachers within the educational institutions. 
With the help of stakeholders from the School Education and Literacy Department (SELD), Zindagi Trust, and government representatives, a specific Performance Evaluation Report (PER) was formulated to address this shortfall. The new rubric incorporates standards such as ‘Classroom Management’, ‘Planning and Instruction’, and ‘Professional Outlook’ and it evaluates teachers on their lesson plans and pedagogical skills to help structure learning around students and make the classrooms more engaging. 
Child Protection Action Dialogue
On 15th June 2021, Zindagi Trust held a meeting with IG Sindh Police, Mushtaq Ahmed Mahar, at Khatoon-e-Pakistan (KPS) Government Girls Schools. As a follow up to this meeting, the Sindh Police collaborated with Zindagi Trust to hold an open discussion with relevant stakeholders regarding the safety of our children. This Child Protection Action Dialogue took place on the 28th of July, 2021 at KPS. 

At this dialogue, Zindagi Trust, highlighted the organization’s experience and findings in prohibition of corporal punishment as well as promotion of Life Skills Based Education (LSBE) to help protect our children. The attendees included members of the National Commission on the Rights of Child, the Sindh Child Protection Authority, the Social Welfare Department, members of the transgender community, and various civil society organizations.

Various topics were covered in the meeting including encouraging children to apply for NADRA registration to help lodge official complaints, identifying physical as well as psychological abuse, curbing street poverty, and increasing representation of the transgender community in the police force. 

To address all facets of child safety and carry the momentum forward, similar discussions need to be held on building state-level protection mechanisms, particularly child protection centers and rehabilitation facilities.
Outreach - Broadening Impact And Raising Awareness
The evolution of Zindagi Trust’s model is crucial for the wellbeing of the students at our schools. However, another equally essential branch of our work is to raise awareness about the potential in government schools that needs to be harnessed to achieve similar results across the country. 

Our outreach efforts continued with the same vigor this year, with several notable visits to our schools.
Our Achievements - Students’ Endeavors Beyond the Classroom
We ended this year on a high note with our flagship school, SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School, being declared winner of the International School Award (ISA) 2021-2024 by the British Council, for their contribution in adding international dimensions to the school curriculum and inculcating civic responsibility amongst the students. At the award ceremony, our teacher Lale Erum was also recognized for her efforts in integrating international learning in classrooms. 
Our students were also invited by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) to showcase their stunning artwork at the Children’s Learning Festival at the Arts Council of Pakistan in December 2021. Their artwork, which included symbolic portraits, lippan art, pop art, silhouette paintings, and hand-painted pots, was praised by the eager visitors who also commended the introduction of the Arts Program at government schools.
In September, some of our students went on a refreshing cruise ship tour near Kemari port, kindly arranged by AAA Hospitality. After having an energizing breakfast, the ship set out into the calm waters of the Arabian sea and had a brief stay at Manora Island. The students had fun watching cargo ships and catching fish using fishing baits with the assistance of a professional fisherman.
Our team of competent cricketers from SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls' School secured the runner-up position in the Apna Karachi Inter District Women Cricket League and were presented with a shield and cash prize money for their meritorious performance. Khatoon-e-Pakistan Government Girls school's team secured 3rd position in the league and were awarded with medals for their outstanding performance.
At the Ambareen Khan Jabeen Karachi Chess Championship held in University of Karachi on 16 November 2021, a total of 11 students participated from our schools and 5 of them secured top victories. Our students, Mehak Mehboob and Sumbul Yousuf took home 1st and 3rd positions in the under-14 category respectively. In addition, our alumni, Areej Maqsood, Almirah, and Bushra Maqsood also demonstrated their sheer brilliance by winning 1st, 2nd, and 3rd positions respectively in the open category.

In November, our students from SMB Fatima Jinnah Government Girls School competed against top schools and won the Pakistan School Sports Olympics (PSSO) Junior Games Football Tournament thanks to our goal scorers: Ayesha, Maham, and Tasmiya.
These awards are a testament to our hard work and it fills us with great pride to learn that our practices in reforming public education are now being replicated in other schools across the country as well.
Feeling Safe at School - Post-Lockdown Adjustments 
The beginning of January 2021 was an uncertain time of school reopening in hybrid formats coupled with frequent closures. Nevertheless, our team at Zindagi Trust worked ceaselessly to adapt to this new format, while ensuring the safety and development of our students and teachers. 
Every morning, our students went through temperature screenings at the health desk before making their way to the classrooms. Sanitization stations were also set up at different intervals along with posters and banners to communicate safety measures to students and help reduce transmission of the coronavirus. In addition, our campuses were also regularly disinfected to curb the spread of the virus further and ensure access to safe, hygienic learning environments for our students and faculty. 
As part of our distance learning programs, we introduced a new module called “Social and Emotional Learning” which was designed to help students cope with the anxiety and emotions experienced during the pandemic. Through art-based activities and expression journals, students were encouraged to express their feelings through images, process complex emotions and build empathy towards their peers.

During school closure, we also conducted mental health awareness workshops for our teachers to sensitize them to mental health and indicate its effects on the behavior and motivations of teachers and students alike.
Bursting at the Seams With Art - Colorful Revival of Creativity and Expression
Following a long hiatus in structured art classes, Zindagi Trust was able to transition towards organized lesson plans and formal online classes in March. With a new Head of Art department on board, our Art Program has now been integrated with other academic subjects to improve the grasp of students on subject matter and provide them with additional ways to apply their gained knowledge and further explore their creativity. 
An online session on space was conducted by Ms. Yumna Majeed from Exploration by Yumna, where students discussed various planetary bodies, the International Space Station, and were shown different types of lunar rocks and meteorites, including the one that landed in Zhob, Balochistan. At the end of this session, students also took part in an art competition, arranged by the Space for Art Foundation. 
After mid-term exams in December, our students paid a visit to the thesis exhibition curated by the graduating students at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. Our students spent the period of their visit to IVS in observing exquisitely well-made art pieces and designs and received first-hand knowledge from the artists about the intricate thought processes which led to the creation of their art. 
Day of Summer - Reconnecting Through That Summertime Cheer 

Following an uncertain academic year of school closures combined with distant learning, our students appeared for their annual exams in June. As COVID-19 cases started to subside significantly, Zindagi Trust decided to bring back a decade old tradition for students: a Day of Summer.
During their July summer-break, students were invited to Khatoon-e-Pakistan (KPS) Government Girls School for an action packed day of fun workshops, music, and food. The day opened with a series of art activities designed by our talented teachers, followed by a talk on environmental sustainability, and a moving musical performance by our music department. 

With a quick break for pizza, juice, and ice cream, the students then learned about the art of photography and shared a warm conversation with Shane Anthony from the popular music band, Kashmir.
Digital Excellence - Rebuilding the Computer Lab and Reigniting Curious Minds
With the generous cooperation of the Sindh Sui Gas Corporation (SSGC), we have built an additional digital lab for our junior students at SMB Fatima Jinnah Govt Girls School this year. 
While students were away for their summer break, the lab was fully furnished with 30 computer workstations and a multimedia facility to help Zindagi Trust provide state-of-the-art education to her students and give them access to digital tools of learning. 
Vaccinated Campuses - Program to Immunize Students For Their Safety and Learning
Our teachers, students and administration members have been dealing with sporadic school closures and 50% attendance regulations for almost 2 years. With schools slated to initially open on the 8th of August, an exponential rise in covid cases delayed re-opening of school campuses until the 6th of September at 50% Attendance. In October 2021, our schools finally opened their gates to welcome our students back at full capacity.

With the cooperation of the provincial government, we have begun vaccination drives in our school and fully immunized our senior students against the novel coronavirus. 
School operations are now returning to normal, and admittedly there is a long journey ahead to contend with the learning losses brought forth by the pandemic. Despite these challenges, we are delighted to have our students and teachers back on campuses where they can continue their holistic learning without interruption.
Learning Beyond Classrooms - Fulfilling the Promise of Providing A Holistic Educational Experience
Reintegrating students into school life is of paramount importance, especially to help them get attuned to the process of growth through learning, reading, writing, and discovery. To meet their needs and pique their curiosity once again, Zindagi Trust has conducted various sessions for students on a broad range of topics including robotics, space, activism, environmental responsibility, menstrual hygiene, self care and time management.

With schools back in session, this practice has now resumed with workshops being conducted by Dar-ul-Sukoon, the Hunar Foundation, Bahria University and SeedVentures on a regular basis.
This year, Zindagi Trust also had the pleasure of inviting a young volunteer, Nikita Mohan, from across the border to share her experiences of growing up in India, with our students over Zoom. What followed was a warm session on cultural exchange and appreciation of ethnic diversity that concluded with our students referring to Nikita as their aapi - an elder sister. 
Critical Thinking and Learning - Expanding Cognitive Horizons
A long-standing critique of Pakistan’s education systems is the lack of emphasis on critical thinking and reasoning skills, which are often eschewed in favor of rote memorization. To address this challenge, this year, Zindagi Trust has designed and introduced a Critical Thinking module with the help of Hina Khalid, our Social Studies and Humanities subject lead. This module is currently being piloted for students of grade 6, in a specially redesigned classroom to develop their cognitive skills and reasoning abilities and improve their critical reading. 
Partnerships in 2021 
We would like to acknowledge our collaborators for their dedicated support throughout the year and help us provide quality education to our students through improvements in School Infrastructure, Program Interventions and Advocacy. 
From the Zindagi Trust team, we would like to wish you and your loved ones a happy, safe and prosperous new year!

Warm Regards,
Zindagi Trust
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Zindagi Trust Inc. is a 501 (3) (c) tax-exempt organization (No. 20-1287010), which grants funds that benefit Zindagi Trust, its schools and other charitable educational projects.