“It is never about how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.”
Al-Zohra Welfare Association is a non-profit organization that was formed in Karachi, Pakistan in May 1991 by Zohra Begum. The main goal of Al-Zohra has always been to empower women and enable them to become financially and emotionally independent.
The journey in started in a cramped 2-room rental in Punjab Colony with no toilets or running water and now after 29 years of hard work by the core team and countless volunteers and donors the organization owns a 6-story building that houses grades PreK - 10th, a vocational training center, a common area for distributing monthly rations and much more.
To help women break through cultural barriers and increase their participation in nation building and bringing positive changes to those around them.
To get children off the streets and into school.
To improve the quality of lives of the community.
Never compromise on our values of honesty, respect and continuous learning.
School is in session 6 days a week and provides a high standard of education comparable to the curriculum at Pakistani private schools where the medium of instruction is English. Mrs. Mahnaz Hamid heads up the school and she brings her vast experience from teaching in the public and private sector previously, most notably as the vice principal of Bahria Karsaz school for 25 years. All students receive free uniforms and stationery. The curriculum includes teaching English, Maths, Science, Computer studies, Social Science, Urdu, Islamic Studies and Sindhi Language. The school has a well equipped computer lab with internet available for students and Rosetta Stone software is used to aid the English language instruction.
Vocational Training Center
The Vocational Training Center is registered with STEVTA (Sindh Technical Education and Vocational Training Authority) and has trained more than 6600 Students since 1998. The following courses are taught:
Sewing and Stitching Course
Students can choose from 5 short courses: Basic, Women's clothing, Frock and dress designs, newborn clothing sets and Men's fashion. For those who are unable to afford them the materials are provided free of cost.
The following courses are offered under this program:
1. MS Office
2. English and Urdu typing
3. Internet usage for professionals
4. Graphic design: CorelDraw, HTML, Photoshop and Urdu in page.
English Language Course
Group projects, daily conversation and writing assignments are carried out to improve vocabulary and pronunciation especially in the context of a professional setting. Rosetta stone software is used to teach the course by former IELTS teacher for 16 years Mr. Trevor D'Souza who is also the main English language instructor at the Al-Zohra school.
Basic and advanced trainings in:
Hair Removal (Threading, Waxing)
Skincare and rejuvenation
Nail care (Manicure and Pedicure, Nail art)
Hair care (haircuts, hair dye, hair styling)
Makeup (casual, bridal and party)
Providing space for 11 cooking stations equipped with a fridge, deep freezer, ovens and utensils the program teaches how to cook appetizers, salads, meat dishes, rice dishes, desserts, Chinese cuisine, continental cuisine for a grand total of 72 dishes being taught altogether. There is also emphasis on baking and cooking in ways that are economical and easily scalable.
In the absence of open grounds and public parks that are easily accessible to women from all walks of life the fitness course is taught by an experienced instructor who focuses on using indoor spaces for Cardio and Yoga exercise routines. There is a nutritionist on hand who teaches how to create custom diet plans. Trainees follow the regimen themselves and their weight and progress is regularly monitored.
Under privileged women from all over Karachi are issued welfare cards after background checks. Welfare cards enable you for the following welfare programs
Ration packs consisting of monthly groceries are distributed during the first 2 weeks of every month to welfare card holders. A pack costs about Rs. 3000 and consists of staples such as flour, rice, oil, milk, sugar, lentils, tea and alum for water purification.
Eligible households are provided with a basic wedding package to assist in starting a new home and holding a celebration.
Dermatology consults are done every Thursday by Dr.Naqeeba Munshi MCPS and Mrs.Tahira Nisar, free medication is also provided.