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Qissa aik noujawan ki umeedon ka

My father migrated to Karachi from Naushahro Feroze when I was a young boy,” shares Nadeem. “He started working in a wire factory and we got a house in a katchi abadi near the industrial area. There was no school in the area and I was an out of school child until The Citizens Foundation (TCF) opened up a campus in my area. My mother got me enrolled in grade four because she had studied till grade five and was able to teach me the Urdu alphabet on her own. I did my matric in 2007 and later applied for a fully funded National Talent Hunt Program (NTHP) scholarship in IBA. At IBA, I got the opportunity to visit the United States as part of an exchange programme and visited places like MIT, Harvard and the US Senate. In the US, I realized that no other child from my TCF school or katchi abadi would get the opportunity to see what I’m seeing unless I could help them in some way.”

In his senior year at IBA, Nadeem and a friend, Farheen Ghaffar, created the TCF Alumni Development Programme (ADP) together with a group of volunteers, to help TCF students find placements and funding for top tier universities like IBA, LUMS, NED, FAST-NU and Habib University. Here’s how their team works: first, the team collects data from TCF, of their graduates. These graduates are then educated about the different top tier universities and their programmes. For example, the application process to a top university is in itself so complicated and the application fee so high that it becomes a barrier to the application. The ADP’s team of volunteers mentor the TCF alumni and guide them through the application process while convincing university management to drop the application fees for such underprivileged children. Through their honest work and advocacy, Nadeem and team were able to convince Dr Ishrat Hussain at IBA to waive the application fees for all such students and recently, five students mentored by Nadeem’s team are successfully studying at IBA, fully funded by scholarships.

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About Mohammad Ali