Recognized as the Social Entrepreneurship Project of the year by a USA based think-tank ‘PUSH Institute’ in June 2005, Taaleem Foundation was selected as one of the two success stories in Asia (the other being Grameen Mobile of Bangladesh) invited to share experience for replicating this conceptual model in Africa and Latin America to combat poverty and crime.
Taaleem Foundation has been working in Balochistan since 1989. The presence of TF can be found in the following areas – Quetta, Pishin, Killa Saifullah, Muslimbagh, Loralai, Kohlu, Zhob, Sui (Dera Bugti) and Mastung. The economy of the area is loosely based on agriculture, mining, government service, livestock and trading. Due to the exploration of gas resources in Sui (Dera Bugti) it has developed the society as a major portion of the population works with the explorers – Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL) – in providing them technical and ancillary services. The income generated from the local economy empowers the community to move towards a healthy and a sustainable lifestyle.
Due to the presence of Taaleem Foundation in the area, there has been an increase in quality workforce. In the eighties, getting hold of resources for administrative work was next to impossible. Today, the area has lot members from the youth who are able to provide quality administrative and accounts services. Due to the increase in the number of management professionals in the area, the business practices have tremendously improved in the districts which are yielding better profits than before.
Moreover, over a 100 students are enrolled in vocational training institutes which have given boost to the technical trade. The public does not have to travel to Quetta regularly in order to get hold of technicians and mechanics and due to the development of the local resources, the solutions to everyday tasks and challenges have become cost-effective. Keeping this in mind, TF in collaboration with PPL Welfare Trust, is operating high quality vocational training institute and a private virtual campus of the Virtual University of Pakistan. The vocational training institute is dedicated in bringing women shoulder-to-shoulder with men by providing them training which will empower them economically. The US$ 1 million project is has started delivering the dividends to the good luck of the communities living in the remote district of Dera Bugti.
Over the years, the trend in entrepreneurial activities has increased in the region. According to the statistics collected by the schools, a lot of Alumni have brought entrepreneurship into their focus as a career path to follow and adopt. Over 40 have started cottage industry business, out of which 8 have upgraded their cottage industries to support export trading. Additionally, many are engaged in profitable agri-business and livestock trade. The boost in entrepreneurship has brought several households to grow out of the low income groups and has added jobs in the market.
If such a trend is supported through investments from the government, for profit and nonprofit organizations in order to promote education, vocational training and professional skills, the day is not far when we will witness Balochistan to be one of the major role players in the national and global economy. With all its challenges, even today, Balochistan has taken a giant step towards prosperity where the doors of opportunities are opening and larger ones remain to be opened. The onus is on the community and all stakeholders to support organizations such as Taaleem Foundation in the region so that the trickle down effect never comes to an end.
One visionary person, with insight and awareness can change the future of generations. Case study of Taaleem Foundation bears testimony to the fact.