Mansoor Ahmed, a bright young schoolboy from a remote village, Sanko of Mirpur Matheolo, has been actively contributing to the progress of his community from a very early age.
The people of Sanko have lived their lives under the dark shadow of Feudalism, which has pushed most of them below the poverty line. The effects of this archaic system have far reaching consequences, such as poor infrastructure, absence of basic amenities and resources essential for survival, lack of government schools, and health facilities to name a few.
It is true that Sanko currently has four schools, but once you enter through their doors it becomes apparent that the shell of an institution cannot be passed off as a regular functioning school. The quality of education, teacher-student ratio, lack of classroom space, and all necessary indicators of good learning environment are in abysmal condition.
Mansoor, who had long dreamed of changing this difficult reality and transforming the learning experience of children of his community, almost lost hope in an outside saviour and rose to the challenge of tackling the issue of education within his community. He took it upon himself to raise awareness regarding the importance of providing children with a healthy learning environment and actively engaged with the school children through fun physical activities.
His brave attempts finally found a direction when SDTS introduced the sport-based programme Generation Amazing, a retention initiative under the British Councils programme, Ilmpossible: Take a Child to School. The introduction of this programme played a major role in ensuring the retention of students by providing them with an enjoyable activity in an otherwise mundane school day. Mansoor’s ownership and dedication towards the programme was hard to miss, he was given the role of a student coach for his class and his responsibilities included keeping his class engaged in the programme even on the days when Generation Amazing sessions were not scheduled. He witnessed the change in overall behavior and spirit of his team mates, and this further cemented his belief that even with the existing resources the community can come together to provide a healthy and positive learning environment to its children. He actively engaged with community members, school mates, and teachers and spoke to them passionately about the impact of the programme in his school. With his confidence in the programme, backed by evidence from his school, he was able to build a similar ownership amongst his community members. Even though the implementation of the programme guided by SDTS has ended, the senior students under Mansoors leadership, have taken the responsibility to sustain the programme on their own and train younger batches. Mansoor was successful in adding a separate slot to the daily schedule of his school, GPS Sanko, dedicated specifically to physical activities. The sessions have been instrumental in improving the learning environment of the school and improving retention. The story of his success and determination despite limited resources has motivated other schools within the community to replicate the programme and they regularly reach out to him for suggestions to promote a similar environment within their school.