Project information

Schools for Pakistan's Poorest Childen

Education offers the best hope of transformation for Pakistan’s poorest children and their families. The schools we support are run by local people with a heart for their communities. Our project gives children the opportunity to go to school, trains teachers and builds leadership skills.

March 2016 - February 2017

Charity information

Starfish Asia

Starfish Asia logo
  • Need


    Pakistan has more than 5 million children (UNICEF) who never attend school. Illiteracy rates are high and within some minority communities are as high as 90%. The country’s 5 million Christians are among the poorest and most neglected, working as sweepers, labourers and manual workers, or unemployed. Few have education. Their children have little or no access to Government schools. This marginalized minority urgently needs education to bring hope and dignity.


    The Starfish principle is that while we can’t help all, we can help some. This project supports two village schools where children would otherwise lack education. Waheedabad Christian Middle School has 8 teachers and 116 students, both Muslims and Christians. The Sambhal Education Centre in Sahiwal has 10 teachers and 250 children, again both Muslim and Christian. These schools bring literacy and numeracy; help build relationships within the communities and give a chance to escape poverty.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    1. To allow children to attend schools and through education raise aspirations for the future.


    » *provide financial support to enable families who cannot pay for their children to access education
    » *provide books and other classroom materials
    » *provide adequate furniture including desks, chairs and blackboards

    Success is in sustained enrolments, good attendance records and increased numbers completing Middle School.

    Aim 2

    2. To improve the quality of education offered


    » *provision of training for teachers through local agencies including Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi.
    » *visits from Starfish Pakistan and Starfish Asia staff to give training, support and encouragement.
    » *support salaries for teachers to ensure an adequate livelihood, due reward for effort and an incentive for further training.

    Success is when at least 80% of teachers attend training and reports from School Assessment for School Improvement (SASI) show progress.

    Aim 3

    3. To support school leaders in running their schools.


    » *training in leadership, accounting and administration provided by Starfish Pakistan national office and other local agencies.
    » *regular liaison with Starfish Pakistan's national director for discussion and assistance with problems arising

    Success is when project leaders attend training courses provided, give positive feedback and are seen to be putting into practice the principles taught.

  • Impact


    The project aims to increase literacy and numeracy rates of both children and their families; to raise awareness of the benefits of education and to lift aspirations. This will enable children to access a wider range of job opportunities and equip them with the skills and dignity to participate more fully in society. Education will empower the children to escape poverty. Success will be demonstrated through increased enrolments, reduced drop out rates and improved results.


    • parents may not see the value of education. As quality improves we observe that parents do see the benefits.
    • resistance to change can hinder adoption of training by leaders and teachers. School assessments can be threatening for staff. Training appropriate to local circumstances will be provided and staff supported by visits from Starfish staff to give encouragement and build confidence.
    • Losing key leaders would endanger the project. Training empowers potential replacements.


    Donors to this project will receive an interim and a final progress report based on visits to the schools by staff of Starfish Asia and/or Starfish Pakistan during the course of the year.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £20,000

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      Amount Heading Description
      £10,800 Salaries Salaries for project leaders and staff
      £2,400 Training Teacher training and materials
      £4,400 Maintenance Maintaining buildings and school equipment
      £2,400 Administration Electricity, phone, postage, office and stationery costs,and miscellaneous
  • Background


    The 2 schools are in Khanewal district in the heart of Pakistan’s most influential province, Punjab.

    Each school is in a poor village of a couple of thousand: Chak 113, Mian Channu and Chak 174, Waheedabad. Both provide for the educational needs of children in many similar surrounding villages.

    Khanewal has below 40% literacy. It contains around a million children but only 25 schools teaching at GCSE level. Scotland with similar child numbers has over 400 schools - and far better equipped.


    More than 360 children will receive schooling enabling them to gain literacy and numeracy and access continuing education. 18 teachers will have a livelihood and the opportunity to develop skills and improve their qualifications. The leaders will benefit from assured funding for their projects and will be trained in basic accounting and administration so as to enhance accountability, transparency and general leadership skills.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Starfish Asia builds on the experience of its founder working more than 30 years in Pakistan. We support 32 schools and 7 homes for disadvantaged children in Pakistan all of which are visited regularly by staff from Starfish Pakistan and annually by UK staff. Starfish Asia is firmly rooted in the local context. It values long-standing relationships with project leaders and seeks to combine compassion with high standards of professional accountability.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Sohail Samuel

    Sohail is director of Sambhal School. He is educated, able and committed to his village of Mian Channu. He has been running his school since 2005.

    Walter Waheed

    Director of Waheedabad School, he studied in Scotland before returning to launch his school in 2008. He has also built a small clinic in the village.

    Anser Javed

    National Director, monitors our 39 projects with regular visits and constructive input. He led one of our schools for 10 years before his current post

    Mike Wakely

    Mike Wakely, CEO in Starfish Asia UK, with 30 years experience working in Pakistan, keeps a close eye on all of the projects in our care.