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PAK07 - EGM Brilliant Students Scholarship Fund: Partnership Reports

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Report Date: October 19, 2017

Report from BHW Pakistan Partnership Facilitator Following Visit 10-12 October


Key person:  Edward Qaser

Recent Events

The number of scholarships available was increased last year upon request. The programme has become very effective and of real value to the families whose children are selected. 

great timeStudents are selected from various areas of Pakistan through pastors that Edward trusts. He is in a network of around 75 pastors, 21 of whom are part of the Scholarship Programme. He has sent out around 1,000 application forms on request and to date had received 230 completed application forms. This process has been developed in the last 18 months as they attempt to spread the benefit of the opportunity wider than just the local area. 

I visited for three days in October 2017. The focus of Edward’s ministry is the scholarship programme and getting out to various villages about three weekends per month. From these visits he sees the needs of the young people. During the visit I met with Edward, many of the board members (there are seven), interviewed numerous past and present students and met with and spoke to around 100 past, present and hopeful young people plus some of their parents. 


Personal Stories

I interviewed a lot of students:

Azhar is in his mid 30’s and has been married since December last year. He did studies in education and economics and has worked in the garment and textile industry for years. He completed his study in 2015 and now he works for a Chinese guy, importing metal accessories for clothing, buckles, zippers, buttons etc. His wife in also studying to be a teacher, MA in English. He goes around the clothing factories getting orders and then places the orders. The goods get delivered straight to the factory from China. 

loves politicsFarooq Bashir is a young man with a real interest in politics. He is a campaigner for Imran Khans’ party and gets out campaigning. He has done two years of law studies and is very thankful for the scholarship. He would not be where he is today without it. His father is very poor, he wouldn’t say what he did for a living out of shame, but he’s a government employee grade 4.

From childhood he has wanted to help people who are unable to stand up for themselves and who are victims of injustice. There is a lot of discrimination and he wants to be able to fight it where he can. He was a student of Edward years ago in a tutorial programme he ran in his home. Without the scholarship he would now be a janitor or sweeper for sure. 

lovely young womanArwa is a most lovely young woman. The whole room lights up when she walks in. According to Edward, everyone loves her. He knows her well; she is his niece on his mother’s side of the family. Her father is a policeman and she is a keen Christian. She goes to a different church and participates in the youth work and teaches Sunday School. 

She wants to serve people and would love to be a doctor but that is impossible as her parents cannot afford it so she has received a one year scholarship and is studying to be a nurse. She would like to do more than just be a nurse, she would like to be a doctor of nursing and train others. She wants to be the Florence Nightingale of Pakistan! About 50% of her class are Christians so she is really encouraged. If she gets good grades she will be eligible for a second year scholarship, US$750.

vibrant young manSalmoon Moris is a vibrant young man. He and his sister are singers and they have produced an album. He leads the worship and choir at church. There are three siblings in the family, he is the middle child. He is just completing the second year of study in a new medical degree in Pakistan, Doctor of Medical Imaging Technology. He has had a scholarship for one year and will probably get one for next year. He is also a candidate for further studies because of the nature of his study. His father works in a steel company and could never afford to get Salmoon through the five years of required study.  

There are few Christian doctors in Pakistan and he aims to be one of them. He will be able to interpret x-rays, ultra-sound and the new technology that is coming into the medical sector. Few of the current doctors are able to do this. He is doing well in class and is the only Christian in a class of 60. 

great at ITAlif Pervaiz has a Master’s degree in I.T. He completed it in 2017 and received two years of scholarship, US$600/year. He is a member of the church that meets in the house. His father is a part-time plumber on a low wage. He doesn’t own a house and wasn’t able to fund the training. He has two other siblings and Alif is now responsible for their education. He has a number of jobs: he is head of the I.T. department at the Catholic Don Bosco Vocational Training centre where there are around 60 students. He sells perfume door to door to earn extra money and also has a small workshop where he repairs computers. 

He wants to do more study so he can become a lecturer and have a more stable job. He would like to see people with the ability to help themselves and develop successful families. He will apply for a further scholarship when the time comes. He is very thankful and would not be where he is today without the assistance. 

exceptional studentAnika is just 15 years old and from Youhanabad. She is an exceptional case and got a scholarship because of her circumstances. Her father was a drug addict and used to beat and abuse all the family members. Anika has scars on her arms from one time he attacked her with a knife. In July this year he died and the family members were relieved. However, they are very poor and the mother foolishly borrowed US$500 from a money lender at 10% per month interest repayments. She couldn’t even pay the first month so the money lender came to take stuff from the house but they had nothing of any value. A few days later he attempted to kidnap Anika. Fortunately the attack failed and the police became involved. The chances are that if successful she would have been trafficked, the Pashtun people are notorious for that. 

She has two brothers and one sister. Her mother earns $40/month working for people in their houses and one brother does basic jobs so there is some income for the family. She is a good student and wants to be a doctor. She is studying science and next year will do biochemistry and physics. She faces many challenges to get there. 

wants to lectureSehar’s father is a pastor and school teacher and her mum is a housewife, she has three brothers and one sister. They live in the Kasur area south of Lahore. She is studying for a MA in English and wants to be a lecturer in English. She has completed one year of her two years study and is applying for a second year of scholarship. She is doing well in her studies and says that it would be impossible to do this without the scholarship. There are plenty of jobs around for people with this qualification. 

creative guy

Patrasian is a quiet, nice guy. He is a photographer and has done some study. He earns a small amount of money from photography but not enough to get into the industry seriously. He is applying for a scholarship at the moment as he wants to get into the film industry as a cameraman, photographer, director. He doesn’t have a formal job and is married. There is no way he could do further studies without a scholarship. He says he has a creative eye and has some contacts in the industry but he needs to get to the next level of qualification. 

keen to be a lawyer

Nazia is from Kasur and is in the first year of studying political science. At the moment she is waiting for her results and if they are OK, she will apply for a second year scholarship.  Eventually she wants to be an advocate and do an LLB. She thinks she has gifts in problem solving. 

She wants to be the best lawyer and especially help Christians to get justice as there are many cases where they are unable to get a fair hearing. Their lives in the villages are very unfair, they lose their land, cannot defend themselves and face a lot of discrimination. Her father is a daily worker and there are eight children in the family, life is a real struggle. She is second youngest and the only one studying. 

juggling study with familyHummara is married with two children. She lives in Kasur with her husband who is a pastor. She is studying Urdu so she can get a job as a teacher and help the family to get enough money to live. Pastors here are very poorly paid, if at all. To survive he has to travel a lot to visit small churches, when he does that he gets the offering which often doesn’t even cover his costs. She is in the first year of two and is waiting for results. 

It is very difficult to run the family, look after the kids and study at the same time but somehow she is managing. She already does a lot of tutoring of students which gives her a little income. In March next year she will be able to start applying for jobs and there are quite a few around. 

very bright

Ruth is just 16 years old and is from Kasur. She is hoping to do her first year pre-med to become a doctor. Her father is an orderly in a hospital and has seven daughters and one son. All the family are bright students. Ruth got 1057 marks out of 1100 in matric, one of the highest in the country.  

She is such a little girl but obviously is very bright. She is applying for a first year scholarship and is an ideal candidate for one. It is probably not the last we will hear of her.  


Partnership's Influence within the Community

This is still early days as the first students are only now emerging into employment. The immediate impact is at the personal level where many young people now have jobs that pay good wages. This is making a real impact on them and their families. Especially for girls, this is a real bonus. It means that they are valued in the family because of their contribution and it opens much better opportunities when it comes to marriage. They are not married off early and the families they marry into respect them better. 

great group of studentsWe heard many stories of young people with good jobs and some with their own small businesses. There is a lot of pressure on Edward to increase the programme but he seems to be managing it well and understands the issues. 

There are 2 levels of scholarship:
Basic: This is for students who have not done so well because of circumstances. They will have received a C or D grade. They can apply for a one off scholarship to allow them to complete their course and prove by way of good marks that they have the ability to do better. This is an encouragement to kids with potential but terrible circumstances. There are 25 of these scholarships available at around US$200 - $250 per person. 

Specialist: Most of the funding goes to this level. These scholarships are for those who have done well at school and will usually be for two year courses at graduate and post-graduate level. These scholarships are up to around US$750 per student each year. A few, about seven or eight, have been funded longer into doctoral studies and have received funds for more than two years. 

great group of studentsNone of the scholarships are for 100% of the costs. The families have to contribute as well, usually no more than 50% is given. 

If they complete the courses they are almost 100% certain of getting a reasonable job although there is some discrimination. One guy with a degree went to a company to get a job as an accountant and they gave him the job of janitor – because that’s where Christians are supposed to work. He left!

They try to get the students into the medical area as there is a constant need for people who are trained and this sector pays good wages. Since beginning the programme only three or four have wanted to do Christian pastoral studies. It is a very tough job and doesn’t pay well! Many of the students will get part-time jobs in the second year to help fund themselves while they continue to study. Many women in rural areas are still not encouraged to train or work, there is a lot of mindset work to be done by the churches. 


Plans for the Future

The vision is to increase this to many more students. Edward would like to double the number as he has so many applications, great applications. He also has another programme within the programme. He wants to get as many Christian young people into positions of influence in Pakistan as he can. There are a couple of exams that graduate students can sit that, if passed successfully, give them access into the echelons of influence - judges, lawyers, mayors and community leadership. He wants to try and get 10 well prepared students per year sitting this exam to create maximum impact. 


Current Issues and Challenges

Not too many. The major one is that they want to be able to do more so more resources are required. 


Prayer and Praise Points

1) The number of young people who are getting good jobs and becoming self sustaining.
2) The discipleship that is going on around the programme. These young people are being exposed to real Christianity, not the nominalism they see in their homes. Many are coming to faith in the process. 



I am pretty impressed by this programme. For the cost of around US$1,500 (2 year specialist scholarship) we can set a person up in a job for life. Not just any person, a Christian person in a hostile culture. That’s got to be good value for money. 

Some are set up with a $250 grant which I think is a great investment and something we could invest a lot more funds into. In terms of bang for buck this is pretty well up there and one of the best ways to do education.