Teaching has been a sacred profession sincethe beginning of civilization. Even the Holy Prophet, Hazrat Mohammad (PBUH) himself emphasized that his primary duty as a Prophet was to teach by saying, “I have been sent only as a teacher to you.” Through, first spiritual revelation of Almighty Allah with the order to read out IAQRA, A message was given by creator to read.
The founder of TNW Foundation, Mr. Zafar Iqbal is lucky enough to quench his thirst of knowledge from a thought provoking personality Ustaz ZakaUllah. The role-model personality of Ustaz ZakaUllah as a teacher had a good impact on the heart and mind of Zafar Iqbal. The inspired student decided to follow the missionary way of living, of his teacher and implement noble deeds while stepping into practical life. After analyzing the poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged situation of the local population, he took prompt initiative under the platform of TNW Foundation. Hence, planned to set up a scholarship scheme and a non-formal School System at community level for meeting the basic need of education facility for the oppressed and underprivileged children. He named this program after his beloved teacher and called it ZakaUllah Educational Support & Training (ZEST).
Through ZEST, Zafar Iqbal aimed to pay not only tribute and prestige to his teacher/mentor but also acknowledge his services by continuing his mission of changing lives.
Under ZEST program (with philanthropic support) children of the poverty stricken area, belonging to low income families and oppressed group are going to have access to quality education nearest to them (totally free). Moreover, destitute and talented students are granted scholarships so that they might be able to continue their studies without any financial constraints and step forward with full devotion & interest
The vision behind the ZEST program is to impart quality education, character building, and transfer of life skills. The aim is to equally engage and involve them at a level to step forward into practical life with full confidence, and as a useful member of society.So that they ultimately play their effective role in ensuring a positive change in the society.
A salient feature of ZEST program is the orientation of values so that they are able to groom their personality in line with our rich Culture/Values. Thus, playing their essential role and sharing their contributive input towards prosperity, integrity of the community.
One major component of this program is ZEST Schools. ZEST School (non-formal education) is the most important component of the project, designed to take out-of-school children (7-11 years of age) back to formal educational system by completing their five levels of primary education in only three years instead of five years. After primary education these children will be inducted to mainstream schools at sixth level and onwards. ZEST schools are opened in Masajid or space provided by community without any rent. Education is totally free at ZEST schools and students do not have to spend a single penny from their pockets. ZEST Schools were opened at different locations of district Khanewal and Multan (Punjab) as self help initiatives.
TNW has also established this program by starting a scholarship scheme for the talented but deserving in district Jhang.
ZEST is unique: It can be easily observed that with the advancement of mechanization and globalization, the status of teacher as role model is at stake and most of social & ethical values and other rich traditions are going towards decline. The story of ZEST highlights the significant role of teacher and his prestige & honor. A humble apprentice is trying his best to bring positive change in the society by continuing the mission of his teacher and considering him as role model and change maker students.
ZEST Schools Project Karachi:
ZEST Program is initiated in the slums of Karachi where around 3500 out of school children are enrolled into 100 ZEST Schools so that after availing educational support services they can play an effective role in terms of generating a vibrant social movement at the poor community they belong to.