At the age of 22, Faizan Nadeem started Street School, an educational program for Afghan refugees living in the slums of Islamabad. What started as one person’s dream is now a 50 person operation that has allowed over 70 refugee children access to education. Street School aims to deliver a well-rounded education to its students. Volunteers at the school teach basic subjects such as math, science and English. Additionally, they also teach children about their rights in society and instill a sense of confidence in them that allows them to fight for themselves. According to Faizan education is the most important way that he can contribute back to society and it is his birthright as both his father and his grandfather were educators.
“I have got teaching skills in my blood and I must use them for the betterment of the society that I am a part of. For me, the betterment of my society is the betterment of myself.”
However, education was not always as important to Faizan. He first went to a community college but quickly grew tired of his studies. He dropped out of the college 2 years later and went into a period of depression. With the support of his family, he was able to get back on track and start studying again. Two years later he gained admission to his dream school, the National University of Science and Technology in Pakistan. His struggle with the educational system made Faizan realise that he wanted to work on improving education in Pakistan for those who could not afford it. Thus the idea of Street School was born. The first step that Faizan took in establishing his school was joining the Millennium Fellowship. His goal in doing so was to learn how to start his project and how to sustain it. “The Millennium Fellowship helped to clear the path and directed our institute to facilitate us in this project. Moreover, I was able to learn from the training sessions and data on the Crew platform and implement them to create positive results such as collaborations.” Street School has been active for around 4 months now and is impacting an entire generation of society in Pakistan. Although they have been serving the community for a short period, their efforts are already being appreciated.
“The school is impacting these children as well as their families. And literally, their parents daily say thanks to my team that you are positively changing attitude of our children.”
Going forward Faizan has plans to expand the project even further. He plans to open different branches of Street School by engaging different colleges and universities in different districts of Pakistan. He believes that opening different branches and guaranteeing education for all children regardless of social class is the key to transforming his society and ending the cycle of poverty that parts of his community face.
“I truly believe that poverty can never stand against quality education and we can transform society through this school.”