Building schools out of trash? Rubina Shakeel shows us when there is a will, there is a way.
Lahore: Rubina Shakeel, the woman who decided to give back all that she thought she owed to her country. Having being sent abroad for studies on scholarship by the government, Rubina thought that if our government is poor and can’t educate everyone, she needs to play her part.
“Since childhood, I have had this wish that I want to do something for this country. When I got done with my studies I realized that there are many children around me who are living without education. 17 years ago, I started this journey from my house’s porch with five students. Today after 17 years, more than 4,000 children are getting free of cost education through us.”
But no great mission ever comes without difficulties.
“But when I started this, I didn’t know that the expenses are going to reach this stage because I only wanted to teach. I did not have an idea that when a child fall sick, I will have to get him medicine also. If a child faints, I will find out that he is hungry since last night so I will also have to cook food, if they are not healthy then I have to feed them also, and to bring confidence I have to get the good teachers too. When all these problems came, the expenses increased. I started reaching out to people, and they cooperated. Right now, we have 8 building schools more than 9 slum areas.
But then, when the charities fell short Rubina had to come up with something that could help her keep her dream alive.
“We started with charity but when the expenses were not met then I wondered what can be done now then one of my friends suggested lets work on trash. By selling trash I realized I can fulfill expenses. Then I went to various schools and did awareness programs and told people that the daily trash produced in your house like water bottles, pizza boxes, chips packets, shoppers. Then we started collecting trash and selling it. One time’s trash got sold for 35 rupees with which I bought a lot of pencils/ I realized something can happen through this. I researched that in one month if one house collects dry trash for us, it sells for about 400-500 rupees. Right now I have four cars which collect trash from different areas. My total expenditure is of 30 lacs out of which over 10 lacs is being collected through dry trash.”
Where there is a will, there is a way Rubina feels with everyone’s support she can do a lot more.
“I feel that in every part of my country where there children are not able to study due to lack of schools, I open it there. Even if one area gets together and give me all their dry trash, I can open up many more schools like this.”