They say if at first, you don’t succeed, try and try again. But what happens when you try a few times and it just keeps getting worse? What if even the people around you start losing hope? Would you give up?

If you would, then there is something this quaint little village of Sindh can teach you.

For the longest time, residents of the village Shuja Mohammad Shah had no school, even in the nearest village. So late last year, when Mr Azizullah opened the doors of the SABAQ Centre, it was like a breath of fresh air for everyone. He joined as a facilitator, fresh out of training and ran the Centre like clockwork. Children would just not stop gushing about their lessons and the parents were content. Everything was coming along splendidly!

So far, so good, right? Maybe not.

One thing we have learned over time is, good people are hard to find and even harder to retain. Aziziullah was an extraordinary instructor, he cared for his students and was personally invested in their growth. But as the fate would have it, Azizullah got accepted into Sindh University and decided to pursue his dream of acquiring higher-education. Don’t get us wrong, we love it when people pursue their dreams. But in this case, it essentially meant that the kids in the village were now without a facilitator.

After Mr Azizullah’s departure, Mr Mohammad Qasim (the VEC Chairman), took over as the interim-facilitator, all the while looking for a more permanent alternative. It was then that he met Mr Mehro. He had recently completed his training and was available to join right away. However, Mr Mehro’s apparent lack of interest in teaching, coupled with his disappointment at the allocated honorarium, made it impossible for this arrangement to last longer than a few days.

Yet again, Mr Qasim had to take up the position of interim facilitator, run the Center and do his job as the VEC Chairman. Not an easy task under normal circumstances, but he had no choice. Having lost two facilitators within the same week, the Centre was progressively being rendered less and less functional and the threat of students dropping out of the Centre began to linger.

After searching valleys and mountains, the answer came in the form of Mr Chano. Mr Chano belonged to a different district, but he seemed to have an inherent desire to teach. He was provided with a refresher course by Mr Qasim and has been successfully running the Center ever since.

“I feel that today’s session has changed my understanding of good teaching resources. I realized that numerous household things (and the things that are around us) can be used as teaching resources and it does not have to be a card sheet/paper to be an effective resource.”

– Zia Noor, Trainer

The 3-Day Training

On the first day, trainers participated in discussions about the benefits of storytelling as a teaching strategy and how to manage tech-blended classrooms.

The second day then shifted the focus to structured and non-structured play. Structured play generally sets a goal that students can reach by applying logic and non-structured play focuses more on creativity and imagination. Trainers learned new approaches and had a ton of fun doing it! They created mandalas and mock lessons with the help of ordinary household items such as pasta, shoelaces and Popsicle sticks. They even solved Sudoku puzzles, to see how interesting games can teach kids math concepts in an engaging manner.

Throughout this chaotic period, Mr Qasim’s unwavering resilience was exemplary for the entire community. His resolution inspired them to contribute towards improving the learning environment for the children out of their own pockets.

When life threw curve balls at Mr Qasim, he took his courage in both hands and continued to remain steadfast and optimistic. It just goes on to show that while it is better to always be prepared for the probable situations of life, it is vital to remain flexible to combat the ones you haven’t prepared for.
And while you do that, always remember; try and try again.