Poverty Alleviation Scholarships Foundation
Our scholarships transform the lives of Pakistan’s most disadvantaged people, including orphans, widows and religious minorities.
We help them to escape a vicious cycle of poverty and lack of opportunity by giving access to free vocational training courses. As well as enabling our students to gain nationally and internationally recognised qualifications, we support them to find a job or set up a business.
PAS empowers people to learn the skills they need to earn a living, instead of relying on gifts and donations to survive. And because we encourage self-reliance and independence, we also help to build sustainable and resilient communities.
PAS is an independent charity that is supported by QED Foundation, which has been a key player in the fight against poverty and inequality since 1990.
Its senior management team of Dr Mohammed Ali OBE and Adeeba Malik CBE has many years’ experience of working with some of Pakistan’s most disadvantaged groups, delivering projects to support local people in Azad Kashmir, Gujar Khan and Attock.
Hunar Foundation is Pakistan’s only nationwide private-sector vocational training organisation. It pioneered the introduction of UK City and Guilds courses and nearly 4,000 young adults have graduated from its technical institutes.
Hunar Foundation students work towards internationally recognised qualifications, leading to economic freedom and empowerment through employment or small business creation. Opportunities are offered to underprivileged and marginalised young people and it has a special focus on supporting women and providing training in trades that can easily be run as businesses from home.
AGT Institute of Technical and Professional Education
AGT is based in Rawalpindi, providing a technologically based education to more than 2,000 students a year. It has become a national leader in managing the transition from an industrial to an information economy and is equipped with state-of-the-art labs and workshops.
Facilities include student hostels and a career counselling centre. The wide range of courses enables learners to qualify as electricians, builders and mechanics or enter the growing information technology sector.
When Rahmeen first came to the Hunar Foundation, she was so shy that she could not speak among her peers.
Yet just two years later she took to the stage to inspire other female students to follow in her footsteps.
Rahmeen’s training in hair colouring and beauty treatment enabled her to secure a job at a salon in the United Arab Emirates. Now she earns enough money to support her family and pay for her brother’s education. She has increased the income of three more households by taking other Hunar Foundation students to work alongside her.
Thanks to the life skills training she received at the Karachi institute, Rahmeen was able to return as guest speaker at a recent event. She encouraged other students to work hard, aim high and never lose hope.
When Atiya’s husband was killed while rescuing survivors from a bomb blast, she was left alone to care for her two children.
As a recent widow, she was desperate to find a way of supporting her family. Atiya started teaching at a local school but could not earn enough to run the household. She tried to supplement her income by stitching cloth and providing basic beauty services from her home yet even that was not enough.
Realising that she needed to improve her skills, Atiya enrolled at the Hunar Foundation. Soon after gaining her beauty therapy qualifications, she was taken on by a salon in Karachi.
In her spare time Atiya still provides services from home, where she has more clients than before qualifying. She hopes to expand her business and is encouraging her children to continue their education and attend college
Sajan’s dreams of going to university came crashing down in 2011 when heavy monsoon rains affected 5 million people. His father lost his job, the family’s possessions were ruined and they were plunged into poverty.
But Sajan’s life took a turn for the better when he saw an advert for the Hunar Foundation. He immediately applied for a course in electrical installation.
After qualification, the Hunar Foundation offered Sajan a job, working in the IT lab at its Rashidabad Institute and teaching and motivating students. He is now employed as a field production trainee for United Energy Pakistan.
Today Sajan is the sole breadwinner for his family. He was able to pay for his three sisters’ weddings and supports his younger brother’s education.
‘The Hunar Foundation’s training empowered me as a woman and enabled me to financially support our family and lift our standard of living.
I never thought that I would be independent and working but now I like to take responsibility of not only myself but others too.’