LIVE Talk Show, Dr. Hifza Khan with Aijaz Qureshi on The Aijaz Qureshi Show discussing SKZ
Show Topic: Saya e Khuda e Zuljalal! (SKZ)
Show Guest: Dr. Hifza Khan – Pharmacist / Founder & CEO of Saya e Khuda e Zuljalal (SKZ)
Dr. Hifza Khan’s Short Bio:
Everyone has a story of his life, some are adventurous, some very tough while others don’t face many twists and turns but what if someone’s life story is to shape others’ life stories? Among such a few stories is the story of Dr. Hifza Khan who helped hundreds of children change their life stories and is continuing to do so.
Born in Lahore, Pakistan, Hifza was one of few individuals who always thought of others before her own self. Tales of social work inspired her from a very young age. “When I get old and will reflect back on my life, I desire to be the reason someone smiled, someone progressed, someone survived and that is the dream of my life, my ambition, my only purpose!”, she always used to say. Luckily, life gave her a chance to fulfill her dream.
On the path of acquiring her professional degree in pharmacy, Hifza came across many individuals who were in a bad shape financially. She collected funds from her university fellows and kept aiding those in need, be it grocery shopping for them or affording school fees of their children. These small tasks of social work further elevated her thirst for doing something sustainable and long-term that has a further influence on the social and economic picture of Pakistan.
On one summer day of July 2017, Hifza finally set out to quench her thirst by visiting the slums of Lahore. The scorching sun blazing at 46-degree celsius in the month of Ramzan was enough to stop anyone from going out but not Hifza. Ascending through broken stairs and dark narrow streets, she was determined to face every challenge. The life stories were horrible in those areas of Lahore, people lived hand to mouth but some were even worse. Small children were the sole bread earners of large families. Women were helpless and clueless. But that was exactly the area that needed a change, that demanded someone’s attention.
“I talked to these people, I tried to gain their trust so they could open up to me. They were distressed financially, socially and emotionally but their biggest desire was that their children don’t end up where they are in their life. So I knew that is where I needed to begin”, Hifza summed up the beginning of her journey. The next step was to make some collaborative effort and it was most convenient at her home institution. She sought students of various departments that were willing to volunteer and offer services related to their field. The adamant youngsters under the leadership of Dr. Hifza Khan first set up a camp in the slum area of Sabzazar and started educating the children by collecting some books, boards, stationery, and bags. To their surprise, the response was amazing. Soon around 50 to 60 students started coming to the camp on a regular basis. However, the major hurdle was that the camp could not survive the weather conditions and it was not enough to cater to a large number of students. Dr. Hifza explained, “The camp fell down with strong wind and rain and we had to set it up again. Then we decided to get these children admitted to the nearest government school but we soon came to know it was not a good idea as they already have a low teacher to student ratio. Then we turned to the private schools and collected funds to afford their fees but that also failed as the parents of previous students were not happy about slum’s children studying with theirs.”
This was the point when the Saya Khuadaya e Zuljalal (SKZ) organization came into being with the struggle of Hifza Khan. Dr. Hifza Khan through the platform of SKZ founded the first-ever school of Pakistan for nomads’ children, SKZ Model School.
SKZ Model School provides quality education to the children in the slums area. It brings together professionals from various fields that employ their specific expertise to run and manage the school activities. Like any other costly school in a posh area, SKZ Model School manages the regular attendance, arrange qualified teachers, conduct examinations, organizes co-curricular and extra-curricular activities for students, work on enhancing the special skills of students such as debates, dramatics, sports or arts, arrange teacher’s training workshops and take care of renovations whenever needed. The project of SKZ Model School is expanding continuously with three other branches in Lahore and with a mission of covering the whole of Pakistan.
SKZ Organization is now a recognized name in many sectors as it unites individuals from different sectors of life including but not limited to teachers, lawyers, doctors, engineers, writers, psychologists, social workers, musicians, poets, entrepreneurs, and social media managers. With the teamwork, the organization conducts successful fund-raising programs, food drives, plantation campaigns, mental health awareness, End Polio programs, health camps and much more.
Dr. Hifza Khan, having acquired a degree in Pharmacy, is now more active than ever. She leads the campaign of “No Hate in my State”. Her interpersonal communication skills and assertiveness has aided her long way in making public relations with people from every walk of life and taking the SKZ to new heights. She has signed a memorandum of understanding with media groups of City42 and PAK360 along with other non-profit organizations such as Youth General Assembly and Rotary International. Further, she has two major projects on her radar, evening classes of skill development for parents of the children at SKZ Model Schools and contributing to the betterment of Pakistan’s health sector.
In the recognition of efforts made by Dr. Hifza Khan through the SKZ organization, several news channels and print media covered their projects and conducted interviews. Also, she won the Rotary Young Leadership Award. In particular, the biggest moment was to reach the international level when the BBC called Dr. Hifza Khan for making a documentary on her achievements as a social worker. However, in the midst of all the appreciation and admiration received, she still remembers why she started, what are her core values, why she is here and she won’t stop till she gets there!
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