The Vicious Cycle of Poverty

“Even if he goes to school he is going to end up working as a laborer.


Why should we waste time and money by sending him to the school?”


This is the most common response we hear from people living in abject poverty throughout Pakistan and rest of the developing world. For them, finding a way to get out of the vicious cycle of poverty is of the utmost importance. Any activity that cannot be directly related to the alleviation of poverty is a luxury they simply cannot afford. Unfortunately, for many, school is one such activity.

visious cycle of poverty

A few years ago, we ventured out to intercept this vicious cycle of poverty through education. Our humble goal was to establish a school in an economically challenged part of Pakistan. In order to build the school with right type of resources and facilities, we decided to kick off a pilot project to work closely with a few children to understand their challenges.

The Germination of an Idea

germination of an Idea

In 2008, with the help of some very dedicated local volunteers, we identified 17 children for our pilot project. What we learnt through this project was very interesting but hardly surprising. We realized that although establishing a school is a very noble and beneficial endeavor, it does not ensure that our primary goal of intercepting the vicious cycle of poverty through education will be achieved.

In order to truly achieve our goals, we must understand the following challenges:

Lack of Quality Education

Almost all of these kids do not have access to quality education. Most of them live too far from a good school. Those who are lucky enough to live close to a good school are usually unable to afford it.

Lack of Guidance & Mentoring

These families typically do not know anyone who can guide them as their children go from one stage of schooling to the next. As a result they either make wrong choices or get frustrated and quit.

Lack of an Environment Conducive to Learning

In an uneducated family living among illiterate neighbors it is unfair to expect that education will be a cause of celebration or even a topic of discussion for anyone. Lack of such appreciation makes the journey that more difficult.

Lack of Persistence

Unable to see what and where the finish post is, a large number of these families pull out their children from school at elementary and middle school levels.

The Results

Additionally, we made a very important observation that surprised us all. The children we chose for our pilot project were not spread across multiple families. Instead, we chose just a few families but ensured all of their children are part of our pilot project. In roughly 4-5 years, we noticed that the conversation within those families had completely changed. For those families, going to school was not an unimportant activity but the focus of everything the family did.

And that’s not even the best part. The best part is that their extended families and neighbors also started paying attention to what was happening in this family. As a result, those people now think of education as a necessity that they cannot afford to ignore.

Since then we have shifted our efforts to the success of families rather than building and operating schools. We identify children in need and ensure that all children in his/her family are on the path to better education. We offer financial support to cover a combination of school fees, books, uniforms, after school tuition, and / or transportation. We also provide boarding expenses when the local school is not an option for a child.

our story

Even the greatest of fires start with the smallest of sparks. A project that started with only 17 children has touched the lives of more than 75 children so far. It has produced six BS/BA graduates with an additional seven at various stages of University level education currently.

What’s Next

In 2012, we founded Growing Intellect For Tomorrow (GIFT) and embarked on a journey to expand this pilot project through a well-structured organization. In 2014/15 we were awarded the non-profit 501(c)(3) status from the IRS as well as the State of California.

Our desire is to keep expanding and evolving our program to benefit as many children as possible throughout the globe.

In order to make this plan a reality, we have initiated Sponsor-A-Child program. Through this program, we make it much easier for donors to help needy children with a small monthly donation. This way we are able to provide full commitment to at least one child for K-12 level education. As Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said.

“and the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even though it were little.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 6464)

Students who enter institutes of higher education for Bachelor’s degree or vocational training will be extended partial support. The funds for these students will be collected outside of Sponsor-A-Child program.

We request you to extend your financial and in-kind support to make this plan a reality.

We pray to Allah (SWT) that he accept our efforts, your support, and give the families benefiting from this project the patience and strength they need to succeed. Ameen