A voice for those who cannot hear


KARACHI – The Family Educational Services Foundation (FESF) has started constructing a school in Rashidabad and a hostel for the deaf; and the projects are scheduled to be completed by 2012.
The FESF is also opening a school in Punjab and completing the second stage of building the Pakistani Sign Language Lexicon. The foundation plans to increase the number of trained teachers for the deaf by 50 percent, expand the youth volunteer training programme and involve youth in social service projects.
The FESF is a non-profit, educational and volunteer organisation, which was established in 1984. Its mission is to enhance the quality of life for all members of the community, especially those who are disadvantaged. The foundation opened two new schools in Sukkur and Karachi in the year 2010.
Around 50 percent of the deaf, who graduated their vocational courses from the FESF schools, were able to get employment, while 259 trainees spent 2,072 cumulative hours in implementing 14 community services projects, impacting the lives of 4,000 direct beneficiaries, mainly underprivileged children.
The FESF invests in the lives of youth to build the leaders of tomorrow by providing knowledge and character-building education and guidance to help strengthen them, their families and their communities. The foundation currently administers some important programmes like Deaf Reach Programme, Schools and Training Centres for the Deaf, Teacher Internship Programme, Eduserve Training Programme, educational seminars and workshops, and Youth Leadership Development (MOVE Programme).
The five Deaf Reach Schools located in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur and Lahore train over 700 deaf children and teenagers. They are unique in focusing holistically on the students and also on training their families and communities. Deaf Reach is the only school for the deaf in the country that has a branch network, providing educational opportunities in rural areas.
This community-centred approach is an educational model for meeting the desperate need for deaf education in Pakistan and replicable in all areas of the country. Deaf Reach schools provide free education to deaf children and teenagers from low income families.
Similarly, the FESF Teacher Internship Programme is the first of its kind to provide teacher training instructions and hands-on apprenticeship for young men and women who seek a career in teaching deaf children. At present, 70 percent of the teaching staff are deaf themselves, most of whom are former students.
Deaf Reach Training Centres offer training courses for deaf adults and teenagers with specific emphasis on literacy, vocational, and IT skills. The goal of these courses is to provide students with the essential skills they will need to find gainful employment upon graduation. Via the ‘Financial Inclusion Programme’, older deaf students are assisted in obtaining gainful employment or in initiating micro-enterprise endeavours.
In addition, the mandate of the Eduserve programme is to strengthen the educational infrastructure by training teachers, administrators, parents and youth. The MOVE programme focuses on cultivating young leaders, instilling in them a sense of civic responsibility and an attitude of care and concern for those who are less privileged.
The course also provides them with the requisite knowledge and leadership skills to become actively involved in community work. The Community Services Programme of the foundation includes visiting orphanages, holding classes and events for disadvantaged children, arranging benefit musical programmes, starting uplift programmes in hospitals and creating libraries in needy schools and institutes.
Moreover, the foundation also provides social uplift and assistance to improve the quality of life for those who are less fortunate due to disabilities or other personal hardship.
This includes a yearly summer camp for 250 orphan and deaf children, as well as the annual ‘Children’s Benefit Concert’ for 4,000 underprivileged and special children.