Indus Resource Centre Service with a cause
The Indus Resource Centre celebrated its 10 years of contribution in rural education by holding a seminar based on the advocacy of issues of rural areas. The event reflected the overwhelming confidence of young students coming from under-resourced areas and the appreciation which IRC received on achieving this milestone.
Around 6,686 children are getting education from IRC’s internal schooling system, while a total of 44,000 children are benefiting from the various programs conducted by the organization. Indus Resource Centre thanked all the philanthropists on this occasion for their support over a period of 10 years. Philanthropists, media representatives and personalities from diverse walks of life shared some special moments with IRC.
Sadiqa Salahuddin, Executive Director of IRC, started working with meagre resources with young women who were either working in fields or rearing cattle. Salahuddin explained the beginnings of IRC when, while working with an international body, she and her associates realized that things were moving too slowly and the strategies were not fully effective. It was to achieve a more effective communication with the rural population that the Indus Resource Centre was set up and the roots to sustain a strong bond with the rural sector were laid.
At the 10-year event, issues of literacy, gender discrimination, child marriage and other social ills of rural society were wellportrayed through short theatre plays presented by students drawn from IRC schools. The plays were well-composed and the students displayed a mature understanding of each issue. IRC team members Farzana and Mariam shared their struggle and commitment which enabled them and their families to come out of their deprivations. They commended IRC for providing the opportunity to them.
According to Sadiqa Salahuddin, the IRC agenda is based on equality, addressing issues of economy, gender and society in general. The key purpose is make all the people feel that they are equal as IRC aims to bring deprived people into the development loop, which is not possible without education.
To provide education in the rural areas, IRC had to resolve issues of ghost schools and teachers and with the prevalent mindset preventing girls from attending school. IRC thanked the role of government and the media assistance in this regard.
Besides education, IRC is running three other programs. The program for democratic governance endeavours to bring public representatives closer to the people as IRC believes in strong governance for better progress of the country. The program provides political awareness through IRC’s strong internal network.
Under the program of sustainable livelihood, women from remote areas of Sindh work on development of crafts, production and marketing through the platform of ‘ Khazana’. IRC believes in the sustainability of arts and crafts skills that are transferred through generations.
Under its risk response program, IRC is playing a role in providing relief and emergency response. The rehabilitation of flood affected areas is a part of this project. Women of these areas are made selfdependent and work as masons in rebuilding their houses.
Indus Resource Centre has gone through various phases of development since its establishment in 2000. The education program acquired formal schooling in the second phase of 2006-2008. Through agreement with the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund, the Centre established formal schooling with an increase in teachers’ strength and number of schools. While the schooling project was initially targeted at girls, boys were also enrolled on insistence of parents. From 2009 onwards, IRC entered a strong relationship with the government through publicprivate partnership and started working on restructuring government schools with major resources coming from the government.
Reproductive health education was also introduced in the curriculum of IRC in 2009. Dr Hashmat Jatoi said IRC’s stress was on academic education but the development objectives which IRC intended to meet were difficult to achieve unless awareness about reproductive health was not inculcated among the people. Sadiqa Salahuddin’s experience and research provided useful insights and helped lay the ground for further progress
IRC students with Sadiqa Salahuddin