Nov 12 - 18, 2012

President Asif Ali Zardari along with Special Envoy of UN Secretary General on Global Education Gordon Brown on Friday launched Waseela-e-Taleem Program aimed at enrolling three million children in Pakistan during next four years. The President said no country can make progress without investing in its human capital. "That is why we have education as a basic right. We believe that ignorance and poverty go hand in hand. Poverty has kept away many children from education," he added.

This initiative is a component of Benazir Income Support Program (BISP). The initiative is aimed at providing free education to the children of poorest of the poor families. The BISP is the flagship program for poverty alleviation and women empowerment that includes cash grants, micro financing, skill development and life and health insurance. It is not merely a cash grant program but it aims at enrolling the poorest of the poor to stand them on their feet.

The President commended role of Chairperson BISP Farzana Raja for launching multiple programs providing comprehensive and effective social safety net for under privileged people. He said the Program lays solid foundation for a brighter future for poor children. The President appreciated the support of international development partners including DFID, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, USAID and the governments of United Kingdom, China and Turkey for their assistance.

"Their support has helped BISP to become a great success story." He said BISP is apolitical program and its sole mandate is to help the poor regardless of political and other divides. The role of provincial governments and administration is critical in successful implementation of the program, he noted.

He urged the provincial governments to extend all possible support to BISP. "They should become partners in ensuring that each and every child is enrolled in the schools. I urge everyone to make this initiative a success. Failure is not an option. I will personally monitor the progress and implementation. I assure you of all possible support." The President said program like Waseela-e-Taleem are the best way to pay homage to the spirit of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. This is the way to fulfill her vision of uplifting the poor.

President said the government's initiatives are for the sake of future generations and with the advent of communication revolution, they need to fulfill the responsibility of shaping a better future for coming generations. UN Special Envoy and former prime minister of UK Gordon Brown assured of his full support for education and achieving of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by Pakistan. He appreciated President Zardari for providing leadership on issues of social significance.

He said Waseela-e-Taleem shows commitment of Pakistan to carry forward a comprehensive measure to educate millions of children still out of school. He said the program will achieve the target of giving opportunity to millions of children to stay at school and get access to learning material.

Every girl and boy is special and has unique talents, he said adding the whole international community wishes to support Pakistan in its endeavours to provide education to children. On this occasion Brown said that November 10, will be observed as "Global Day of Action for Malala Yousafzai" and life of the courageous girl will be celebrated in activities in different countries.

He said one million people across the globe signed a petition in solidarity with Malala, who stood up for the right of education of children. Chairperson BISP Farzana Raja said objective of the program is to transform Pakistan into a welfare state. We have dedicated ourselves to provision of education and health facilities. We are fighting two wars. One is war against terror fought by our brave armed forces and the other is poverty alleviation through BISP initiatives, she added.