Helping Disadvantaged Students in Pakistan: Anila Ali co-founded CalPak to provide quality education to disadvantaged children in remote areas of Pakistan’s Sindh Province. Anila grew up in the region, where both Hindu and Muslim children live in poverty. Child marriage and gender discrimination prevent many girls from attending school. A 501c3 non-profit, CalPak works to ensure that all children in the region receive 12 years of quality education.
Project Inspired by Students in Slums: “When I entered the school [in Pakistan] with my team of educators, we saw an empty building with a few boys serving biryani to the teachers and a few girls sweeping the school floors. Desks, chairs, windows were all broken. Just then the little girl who was sweeping ran up to me and asked me if I was a teacher. I told her I was a teacher but I teach in America. ‘Aunty,’ she grabbed my arm, ‘Please, please, don’t go. The headmaster beats us and watches us in the bathrooms. He even beats the boys.’ That was the moment I made a promise to the little girl.”
Creating Powerful Educational Opportunities: CalPak has formally adopted several local schools (e.g., the Qurtaba Primary School) by providing curricula, uniforms, supplies, and screening to ensure quality teachers are hired so students are safe. Thanks to CalPak, California Southern University offers online certificates for students in Pakistan that are accredited in the US. CalPak also brokered a partnership between California Southern University and Pakistan’s Iqra University.