KARACHI: Have you completed your Matriculation? Are you confused about your future or have no money to continue your education? The Hunar Foundation (THF) has a plan for you and all you need to do is take a basic test in English, mathematics and general knowledge.
At least, that’s what Farhan, 23, did. He was in class 10 when his father died. With a single parent, an elder brother and a younger sister, it was difficult for him to continue studying. But because of THF’s mission to polish skills of the vulnerable members of society, he was able to carry on.
“I completed a one-year course in mechanical engineering and plant maintenance,” he told The Express Tribune at an event organised by THF on Friday to spread awareness of their work. “In the ninth month of my training, Coca Cola Beverages Pakistan’s human resource department came to THF to conduct a written test.”
Farhan, along with 10 of his batchmates, was selected by the multinational corporation; he was initially appointed as a trainee with a monthly stipend of Rs9,000 and is now a permanent employee earning more than Rs20,000. Continuing his education as well, he credits THF for his success and his passion to keep learning.
“Pakistan produces nearly 10 million technicians in different fields yearly,” claimed THF chairperson Aslam Khaliq, who believes that to be a breadwinner, one must be a Matriculate or a graduate. “That still leaves around 40 million unemployed youth without degrees. They could be an asset to the nation but we have made them a liability.” THF, according to him, imparts technical training to as many of these youth as possible. “We provide them with the skills and the work ethic that help them stand out in the professional world.”
THF principal Muhammad Ali Siddiqui was of the opinion that merely imparting skills to their students was not enough. “We need to give them life skills, etiquette, English language and computer training,” he pointed out. “These aspects are often lacking in the impoverished segments of society.”
He added that THF did not educate its students for free. “We take whatever amount they can pay. Otherwise, it would reduce their ownership in what they are doing.”
The courses currently being offered by THF are fabrication and welding, electrical and electronics technology, plumbing, refrigeration and air conditioning, manufacturing technology, maintenance technology and motorcycle maintenance and repair. They are accredited by the Trade Testing Board under the Sindh and Punjab Technical Educational Vocational Training Authority and are also certified by City and Guilds (C&G), a UK-based accrediting body. The qualifying students receive C&G diplomas, which are recognised in over 80 countries.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 22nd, 2015.
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