Thinking global, living local: Voices in a globalized world

Learning to Help – The New Kind of Education

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In a class room at the Fauji Foundation school, I (left side) along with the teacher explain to the students about community service and its importance.

Education in today’s world requires much more than a curriculum packed with subjects like mathematics, geography and sciences. Now even though education of this kind is important and should be given our highest priority, it just doesn’t fulfill the role of a “good education” let alone a great one.

You see, I believe the aspect of “learning” bears no fruit for us if we fail to benefit others with it. And for this reason I believe we need to highlight how important it is to include a new kind of education which is emerging around the world. This type of education is all about learning about the community outside of the classroom and taking steps to improve it – it’s all about community service!

Many education districts in the US require students to perform a number of hours of community service in order to graduate from high school. However, this practice is not widespread in the USA and almost unknown in other parts of the world – especially in third world nations.

Now in order to test this concept on schools here in Pakistan I ventured out together with my peers from the iEARN Pakistan – KLYES (Kennedy Luger Youth Exchange & Study) program to the Fauji Foundation Model School.In iEARN Pakistan, KLYES alumni are carrying out community service projects all over Pakistan. There in the classrooms we introduce students to the idea of community service and later help organize a community service project in which students can participate.

This has proved to be a great success. Not only did students develop a sense of responsibility but their engagement in the project made them feel like they had the power to bring about positive change, and not only help themselves but help others as well. It threw a new light on the idea of “Learning to Share” and truly put the words into action as the students learned to share this new found opening with others.

And it also gave me the opportunity to see at first hand how learning about community service and practising it can easily function within the educational set-up. In short, the idea is feasible and something that – if put on the agenda of educational institutes  -would be immensely beneficial especially to countries like Pakistan. The exposure of the younger generation to community service and their role as agents of change for the better will no doubt go some way to redressing the lack of support the underprivileged in the country suffer from.

Pictures of the classroom discussion and the project are shown below.
For the students’ first community service project we decided on a tree plantation.

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Aown Kaz Twitter: @aownkazSyed Aown

Aown (read "On") is a young activist from Lahore, Pakistan whose passion is based on international affairs, concern is based on environmental degradation and his work revolves around community uplift. He's currently the youngest employee at WWF-Pakistan and is also the youngest person to join the National Council of Environmental Journalists in his country. Previously he's done projects with UNICEF HQ and has also participated as a delegate to the United Nations General Assembly sessions in 2009. He continues his activism by spreading awareness about global issues facing the youth in Pakistan and beyond.