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Prime Minsiterís Waseela-e-Taleem Programme launched in 27 Districts, Thatta


Prime Minsiterís Waseela-e-Taleem Programme launched in 27 Districts

The Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Waseela-e-Taleem programme of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) was launched, in collaboration with Aurat Foundation, in a grand ceremony on 28 November, 2015, at Makli Stadium, Thatta, Sindh. The President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Mr. Mamnoon Hussain, formally inaugurated the event. The ceremony took place to launch the programme in 27 districts of Pakistan, after the completion of its successful pilot phase.

The launch saw the unveiling of women leaders’ cards. The purpose of the cards is to give WL Leadership identity in the community and to allow these leaders to help resolve cases at BISP local offices and with other stakeholders.

The Waseela-e-Taleem programme is a conditional cash transfer initiative of BISP funded by the UK government and run with technical assistance from the World Bank. BISP is a social mobilisation mechanism to help alleviate poor women, and hence poor families, out of poverty.

The crux on the Waseela-e-Taleem programme is to allow school going children, from families at the bottom end of the poverty line, to receive an education. This programme allows cash initiatives for already existing BISP beneficiaries to enrol and keep their children in school. BISP beneficiaries include the most underprivileged of women in the targeted districts, who receive conditional and unconditional cash transfers from the BISP programme under the Federal Security Network Programme of the Government of Pakistan.

Other dignitaries present at the launch included, Ms. Marvi Memon, Chairperson BISP, Mr. Saleem Ranjha, Secretary BISP, Mr. Philip Barton, British High Commissioner to Pakistan and Dr. Masuma Hasan, President Aurat Foundation. The attendees included over 24,000  BISP beneficiaries.

On this important occasion, Mr. Mamnoon Hussain, President of Pakistan, stated that poverty and illiteracy are the main cases of corruption, crime and extremism in the country. He noted that the promotion of education and addressing poverty alleviation at the grass root levels, could help challenge these ills. Noting the dire facts of how many children in Pakistan were out of school, the President wished that with joint efforts of skilled professionals and the civil society, the problem could be curbed. He further stated that strict monitoring of the programme was necessary so that the school going child could directly benefit from the stipend being received.

The President commended the efforts of Ms. Marvi Memon and her team for their role in the success of BISP and its contribution towards women’s development in the country.  He expressed his wish for the programme to have an eventual outreach, across Pakistan. He also thanked the UK government for their assistance and support in addressing the important issue of education in Pakistan.

Ms. Marvi Memon, MNA and Chairperson of BISP addressed the crowd and stated that the government was committed to promoting education at the grass root levels, understanding that education was the right of every child in the country. She went on to state that “women can play a vital role by sending their children to school and Waseela-e-Taleem programme will provide financial assistance for the purpose.” Ms. Memon expressed her hope for the expansion of the programme throughout the country.

Mr. Philip Barton, British High Commissioner to Pakistan spoke in English, Urdu and Sindhi highlighting the importance the United Kingdom placed on education. He noted that the poorest and most disadvantaged families, should avail this opportunity in education, particularly to educate girls, to better their future.

Dr. Masuma Hasan, President, Board of Governors, Aurat Foundation, gave a brief history as to how the Waseela-e-Taleem programme came into existence. Dr. Hasan proudly highlighted the programme’s outreach, having benefited 1,300,000 women and seeing the enrolment of 850,000 children in school.  She praised the hard work of Aurat Foundation in its effort to help empower women.

Mr. Saleem Ranjha, Secretary BISP, informed those present of the programme’s aim to enrol 2,000,000 children into school by the end of December 2016 and extend this incentive based free education to 50 districts.

Three BISP beneficiaries also spoke at the launch, sharing their positive experiences and significant change to their lives because of the cash stipends received. They further spoke the new found awareness regarding their rights and the right and importance of education, especially education for girls.