This husband-wife duo is on a mission to provide free education to underprivileged children

This husband-wife duo is on a mission to provide free education to underprivileged children

The House of Light school which started in 2006, has over 300 students now.
10 Mar, 2019

Having started a free school for underprivileged children in a small rented building in 2006, wife and husband duo Sadia Qamar Raja and Qaiser Ghaffar now run The House of Light School in a huge, sprawling building some 27 kilometres from the capital city’s centre in the Bain Nala neighbourhood in Union Council (UC) Pind Bagwal.

When the school was first started, it only offered nursery classes. Today, the school has 300 students from nursery through to the tenth standard and employs 20 teachers. According to locals and administrators of the school, students are provided with free education, uniforms, books, other study materials and lunch.

The school is affiliated with the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education and its students first appeared in Secondary School Certificate exams in 2016. One of its students, Aneeza Amanat, had obtained 943 marks in her exams.

The double storey building stands out in the area and is surrounded by greenery. It boasts play grounds and other state-of-the art facilities.

The school has since developed into a bigger space for the under privileged children.
The school has since developed into a bigger space for the under privileged children.

One of the co-owners, Qaiser Ghaffar, won the 2015 local government elections for UC Pind Bagwal chairmanship. He told Dawn the project is being run with the support of donors. He said anyone can ‘adopt’ a child and bear their monthly school expenses including books, uniform and lunch.

“Of our 300 students, 137 have been ‘adopted’ and their expenses are born by donors,” he said, adding that one student’s expenses come to Rs2,400 a month. The double-storey building of the school was also constructed with the help of donors, including the Japanese Government.

The school started out small in 2006.
The school started out small in 2006.

He said federal minister Dr Shireen Mazari, artists Shehla Rafi and Arjumand Faisal and former ambassador Afzal Akbar Khan are some of the donors and have been helping the school for many years.

The couple want to expand the school and plan to start a college as well in the same building and then move on to establishing a university for poor students.

“Education is our mission and passion. It gives us immense satisfaction that our school is contributing towards society,” Sadia Qamar Raja, who is also the principal of the school, said.

She added that the school only offers admission to students living within a 10km radius and only in nursery classes as it cannot handle a lot of students.

She said the only exceptions are orphaned students who are admitted throughout the year and in all classes. “I studies in Islamabad Model College for Girls F-7/4, which is considered one of the best public sector colleges in Islamabad. When our students are done with their matriculation, we help our female students get into that college and several of our former students are enrolled there,” she said.

“Let me tell you one thing, our society is very generous when it comes to spending for a good cause,” she added.

Administration and Finance Officer Ahmed Naeem Qadir said he is hopeful that the school will bring about a major change in the future of the rural area when its students start their professional lives after completing higher education.

He said poverty is one of the main reasons so many children are out of school. “We offer everything for free and poor parents are happy to enrol their children here. Every year, we receive more than the 30 applications for nursery class we can approve,” he said.

Mr Qadir said the school has a science laboratory, computer laboratory and sports equipment. He said the school has a transparent system and gets regular external audits to share with donors.

Originally published in Dawn, March 10th, 2019


khalid masood Mar 10, 2019 12:41pm
This is a good story and good coverage. Please compare this with another school in Karachi, 'Footpath school' by oceanwelfare organizations. There is one lady who is educating, feeding and clothing street children, most of them are orphans and or abandoned.. Take a look at them. Simply google them Thank you and Jazkallah..
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Adil Mar 10, 2019 02:29pm
Can some share details of how we can donate money to this school please.
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Sukhera Mar 10, 2019 06:09pm
This is the best news I have seen from Pakistan for a long time. Husband and wife duo should be recognized as heroes for starting this project and providing education to the poor people of our society who can,t afford the high cost of education. The education to the poor kids is the only way to get them out of the vicious cycle of poverty. The govt can't do everything for us, we have to start helping each other and this is the best example of help for the needy. I urge the founders to build more schools in less developed areas of Pakistan for both boys and girls. Providing free uniform, books and lunch are basic necessities which less fortunate people can,t afford. The reporter should have given the website or other information for donations to the school which the school urgently needs because only 137 students have a sponsorship. I urge the overseas Pakistanis to help the school to flourish and expand.Gift of $20 a month for one student is a big investment for future of Pakistan.
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illawarrior Mar 11, 2019 06:16am
Whilst the generosity of donors is commendable, if the government was meeting its obligations, it would be unnecessary.
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khalid masood Mar 11, 2019 12:39pm
@Sukhera . Good points. If you want to make a difference and live overseas, you know a small amount like $20, $40 or $50 go a long way. As a Muslim, not only you can make this as Zakat, but you are helping the destitute get an education and make it through life. Remember: you have so much and they have nothing.. Be thankful and share a little.. It sure will come back to you, some day... I went to Pak last year and witnessed from my own eyes how these abandoned children as young as 4 years old were being taken care of, educated and fed under a bridge near Abdullah shah Ghazi Mazar. I could not eat for 2 days....
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Jawaid Islam Mar 12, 2019 10:39am
Something I always aspired to do; an important thing to note is to empower these students in acquiring technical education, something that can turn them into entrepreneurs rather than prepare them for white collar jobs.
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Roshan Mar 12, 2019 10:40am
@khalid masood how to send money or donations to this School
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