August 09, 2018

    An oasis of education: How Irshad Ali Lakhani came home to save a generation?

    The Katcha area in the riverine belt of the Indus river in Ghotki, Sindh is a hard to reach area prone to flash floods and has historically been a safe haven for dacoits. It lacks government services and civil society support. In one of the most challenging Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives in its history, because of the sheer environmental and accessibility challenges, Engro adopted 13 schools in the Katcha area.

    Engro has been operating these schools for seventeen years. During that time big changes have been seen in the area. Former outlaws of the area have begun new lives, and are even helping Engro develop schools and advocate community members to enroll their children. In 2015 Engro Foundation hoping to further empower the local people, formed a local autonomous organization to further the education program. Local elders govern the organization, called the Katcha Development Welfare Organization, with two representatives from Engro Foundation. The daily management is run by Katcha youth. Engro hopes that not just Engro but other corporate entities can scale this community corporate partnership model across the country for key social interventions.

    Against the backdrop of change in this challenging region comes the powerful story of Irshad Ali, who went to an Engro-sponsored school in the Katcha region to get educated, and eleven years later is teaching in the same school, making sure an entire generation of children walks the right path.