I remember clearly that day when my teacher told my class that an international school was putting together a group of students to help an organization and she asked if any of us were willing to join. I have always been happy helping people so I signed up, the only one in my class to do so. I thought hard about organizations I wanted the group to support. Unicef? Red Cross? Save the Children?
After dinner, I went up to my room to listen to Pakistani music. One of the greatest singers at the moment is Shehzad Roy. He has a great voice, personality and mind. A few years ago, he formed an organization called Zindagi, meaning LIFE in Urdu. The Zindagi Trust builds schools in Pakistan, paying street children to attend, get good grades and help them have a solid future.
I did some research and the next day suggested it. After spending 30 minutes explaining the merits and goals of the Zindagi Trust, all the students voted to support it.
To start our partnership, I contacted one of the finest men I have ever talked with, Mr. Imran Ali, who gave me all the information I needed to get the group started.
We volunteers decided that it wouldn’t be enough just to make a donation. We wanted students to feel from their hearts the need to help and at the same time gain experience. So, we created some Power-Point presentations, and showed them to different schools. The students’ response was great. They were shocked to see such greatness in an organization!
Following up, we decided we’d get these schools involved by suggesting they do jobs, get paid and then donate that money. It didn’t matter if it was washing cars, babysitting or tutoring, as long as the student was gaining experience and being paid. Within a week, we raised over 15,000 kroner (almost $3,000). The generosity was tremendous.
Though the holidays and some difficulties got in the way, the group managed to send 35,000 kroner (approximately $6,200) to the Zindagi Trust. They were delighted and told us that many children now had the chance to go to school.
Ever since that experience, I have been telling people about this organization. I am amazed that Shehzad Roy could come up with such an extraordinary idea that helps Pakistan’s problems. It gives street children a chance to get what the rest of us take for granted. They now have many schools spread across Pakistan, but they rely completely on donations. So the next time you want to be generous, donate to the Zindagi Trust. I doesn’t matter whether it’s money, books or clothes, the people of the Zindagi Trust appreciate everything they receive.
Help them give Zindagi back to the children of Pakistan. To find out more and donate, visit zindagitrust.org
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.