Pakistan, Asia

PAK07 - EGM Brilliant Students Scholarship Fund: Partnership Reports

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REPORT DATED: MAY 31, 2024 >

Report Date: May 5, 2023

Report from BHW Pakistan Partnership Facilitators Following Visit

Key person:   Edward Qasar

Recent Events

The programme continues to have a great influence in the lives and families of many young people. There are about 70 students currently active in a variety of different areas of study. 

Edward has several projects operating. All of them come under the control of the EGM board and he has developed a good board. They make all the major decisions including which students can be accepted into the scholarship programme. This takes some pressure off Edward, although he is still the point person. He also has a team working in the office, handling the details. We spent time going through their administration and it is very impressive. 

The programme has grown outside of Lahore into several outlying areas. Because of this, several other people in those locations are involved in leadership on the ground, pastoring and mentoring the students. 

Of course, Covid significantly affected the student's ability to study. Much of it went online and BHW helped some of them get devices to enable to them to study online. This was a great help to them and the programme. 

A team from BHW visited from the 15th–20th March 2023 and interviewed several students, some were alumni having completed their course, some were current, active students and there were some who had applied and been approved and who were now hoping to obtain entry. 

EGM and Edward are involved in several other projects with BHW. This includes four sewing programmes in Kasur, Youhanabad, Faisalabad and Peshawar. He also runs schools in two brick kiln areas we visited, and printing and distribution of Bible Study lessons. We have done other things in the past, water filters in four villages, housing for flood victims, and food distribution through the Covid period. As well, he has other programmes with other donors, mainly the support of nearly 30 pastors. However, the Brilliant Students Scholarship Programme is his real love, this is his priority. 

The list of those seeking scholarships is huge and they can only add new ones as others drop out or graduate. That is between 7 and 10 new students per year, yet the list is close to 100 and he received more as we travelled with him. 

More and more students are applying from further afield than Lahore, mainly through the pastors in the EGM network. The two criteria are that the students are brilliant, top 25% or preferably top 10%, and if there is a major need – orphans, evicted, persecuted etc. The students we met are in both categories, all of them from Christian families. Christian here has two meanings; firstly, those born into traditional and frequently nominal families from a wide range of denominations and secondly, those who are born again and have a personal faith. Both are eligible for scholarships. 

The students are expected to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and if they dip below this, they are warned and sometimes lose the sponsorship until they can lift it up again. Only one student per family at a time can be part of the programme. 


Personal Stories

Florance Yousaf

big drdamsFlorance has two married sisters and two brothers. Her parents are deceased, and she lives with one of her married brothers. She is working part-time and studying. Her brothers take all the money she earns and do not help her at all with her study. Life is very difficult. 

She has found someone to marry, a teacher at the school where she works, but her brother will not allow her to marry. He will lose his source of income! She was very emotional as she talked to us and had to leave the room in tears to compose herself. She wants to obey her brother to whom she is responsible and is afraid that if she marries without his permission, she will be left with no one to care for her if her husband died.  

She is doing a Master of Chemistry and Teaching. She has many dreams but would love to become a college lecturer. She has one more year of study to complete her Masters. Her results are good, and she maintains a 2.5 GPA. She has been warned but there is some tolerance because of her circumstances. 

She attends a Catholic church and Edward says she has faith. She says, “I find solace in praying, that is all I have, and I now sleep better because of the scholarship.” 

Sehrish Shahzadi

health science degreeSehrish is doing a health science degree, four years. She is in the first semester of eight and is enjoying her study. They do clinical work one week a month and the other three are academic. 

There are seven members in her family, her father and mother and four other siblings. She is number two and her older sister is unmarried. Her father is a priest in an Anglican church in Youhanabad where the blast happened in 2015. She was there when the blast happened and her family but none of them were injured. 

She wants to help people who are in need, especially the poor in rural areas, with primary health care, especially in women’s health. She has been able to visit rural areas to see the need. She has a burden for others to care – anyone who needs her. She has a strong, good relationship with God.

The scholarship is very helpful, there would be many difficulties for her without it. Her study programme does not allow her to work. 

Katherine Akhtar

big dreamsKatherine has two brothers and two sisters and is studying for a Bachelor's in Medical Technology - Ultrasound. She has just begun her third year at the University of Lahore which is an internationally accredited university. She then wants to study abroad and specialize in gynaecology. She would love to go to Australia and study, and she wants to work in the private sector. 

It would be very difficult to have got this far without a scholarship and it is her third year in the programme. She came to the interview with her parents. We had met her mother the day before at the sewing centre in Kasur as she is the key person for EGM in that area. 

Katherine’s parents commented that the scholarship programme is very helpful. They have five children, and it is hard to afford to pay for them all to study. The father is a lawyer and does a lot of work with the poor, representing them in blasphemy and unjust practices cases. He doesn’t get a lot of money for that. He is also a major figure in the brick kiln workers union trying to get improved conditions for indentured labourers. The mother studied at Bible college and now is involved with a Union with 500 domestic workers. They are treated very badly and are poorly paid. The people she represents are 80% Christian.

Katherine and her parents are involved in the New Apostolic church, she teaches Sunday School. She is a lovely young woman, very focussed and articulate. They are a family that is living out the gospel at great cost to themselves. 

Auiqa Nazir

radiology degreeAuiqa has nearly finished her radiology degree and will qualify as a doctor in one year. Her grades are good 2.95. When she has completed her studies, she wants to start a medical centre with some of the other medical students from the scholarship programme in Youhanabad.

If she did not have access to this scholarship, she is definite that she would already be married with children. Her family situation is very hard. Her father converted to Christianity from Sikhism, and he was the only one in his family. There were no other sons and in 2018 her father died. Since then, they have lived with the grandfather who gives them a hard time. The rest of the family are very cruel to her mother and the four children. 

Her mother works for someone in another house and does sewing, she is very good at it. She has a younger sister, Monica who is in class nine and a brother in class 10. There is another brother who has created many issues for them. He is currently in jail for drugs and gang related activity. The gangs have constantly threatened the family and the police have raided the house several times. It has become so bad that EGM has decided to relocate them out of the Youhanabad community for their safety. They were under threat of rape and ongoing persecution, much of it because they are Christians. 

The BHW team last visited them in 2018 soon after the death of the father. It was not a happy place and life has been even more difficult since then. On the recent trip the BHW team visited them again in their new location. EGM is paying the rent for them and now they feel safe. 


Partnership's Influence within the Community

After several years of operation this programme is now beginning to have a real impact. Some alumni are involved in leadership roles in the community. We talked to several pastors and church leaders, and they are very sure this is a wonderful programme and there is nothing like it in Christian circles in Pakistan. 


Current Issues and Challenges

Some students do not take up the opportunity they are given and waste it. What we liked from listening to Edward is that they are learning from their mistakes and making less of them because of that. They are now very reluctant to give financial assistance to students in O and A levels. They have done this with a few in the past, but it creates issues. In one situation, two sisters from a very poor family were helped and got teaching diplomas. While trying to get jobs, Edward asked them to volunteer in one of his schools to get experience and get some pocket money, but they refused and won’t talk to him. In another instance, a boy was helped with a 3-year degree and now cannot get a job. He won’t communicate and he and three other brothers sit at home doing nothing. So, now they are much more selective. 

Some students, especially younger ones, struggle with pressure from their parents and families. They are given the money to pay their fees, but parents often try to get some of it for other purposes. It is very rare now for these younger ones to get assistance. 


Prayer and Praise Points

The team is sharpening up their focus and learning many lessons which continue to make the programme effective. 



This project is great, and the impact is truly spectacular in the lives of those who make it and who remain faithful. 

The cost of living which of course impacts right across the board is severely affecting training costs in institutions. Course fees in some cases go up by 10% from one semester to the next. We saw the receipts for this for one of the students. The BHW Executive has therefore approved a 10% budget increase to enable them to keep the same number of students on the programme.