I came into contact with 38-year-old Mr. Rehmat Ullah from the village of Chaman, Balochistan Province, Pakistan through Facebook, through Mr. Rehan Allahwalah who promotes FB as a tool to connect people for peacebuilding, development and entrepreneurship skills enhancing.
Rehmat’s school, Iqra Asian International School was founded by him. In Pakistan, individuals can start a school as the government has no capacity to start schools in every village and small towns at the present time. Even though his school is titled as an “international school,” he runs it with very basic facilities as he cannot invest big amount of monies and cannot charge adequate fees from the low-income families in his area.
Rehmat happened to communicate with me through FB during the last few years and I advised him with my experiences in fundraising. He had no access to a PC but did all his communication with an entry-level smartphone. It took a long time for him to change the attitudes towards technology due to lack of access to it. He learnt that there are easier ways to improve his school. Though both of us come from different countries, cultures and backgrounds there was one thing that we both believed in. Obviously, that was education. We both strongly believe that educating the younger generation can solve most of the social and developmental issues that countries in our region face. So, we had several chats over IM and he started changing. And it was his students who reaped the benefits of his change. The number of students in the school has increased to 212 (190 boys and 22 girls) from the mere 9 at the inception of the school.
He opened his FB account in 2014 and now has 4996 friends and only shy of 4 friends to come to the maximum number of friends the social networking giant allows. He is also followed by 7,111 people on FB. His FB moniker is https://www.facebook.com/rehmatullah.rehmat.566.
He spends around 10 hours per day with FB despite his other duties as the Headmaster of the school. He spends around 30 USD per month for his internet bill. He started using Facebook extensively and promoted his work in educating the children in his school. He does not want to limit his services to his school. His broad vision is to extend his support to the whole Balochistan Province which is one of the least developed provinces in Pakistan. Balochistan is also facing constant violence due to terrorism.
Rehmat is a graduate in political science from the University of Balochistan in Pakistan. He upgraded his degree to the postgraduate level at the same university. He speaks and writes fluent English.
These are the three biggest achievements for his community with FB.
- Finding donors for his School in Chaman. (Iqra Asian International School)
- Providing the course books, stationery and lunch for the students.
- Getting 2 computers through donors. (But they are not working now)
- Constructing 2 toilets
- Building a computer lab (no computers yet though.)
- Providing solar portable and street lights to the community in Balochistan through Mr. Vaqas Butt from ACE Welfare Foundation, Pakistan and the Executive Director of Liter of Light.
Rehmat does not want to have a total blackout of Facebook for teenagers. His message to the teenagers is to ensure the positive use of FB under the guidance of teachers and adults. Rehmat’s biggest challenge with Facebook is that he doesn’t have a good team who can use social media in a more productive way. He has to do everything on his own. Maybe others can help him as online volunteers to maintain his school Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/Iqra-Asian-International-Public-School-Chaman-977366225635204/
He also advocates other teachers in Pakistan to get connected via Facebook with the teachers and schools around the world in order to learn new techniques and methods of teaching.
Rehmat uses live streaming the school events extensively through Facebook to get the donors’ attention. He has to pay the internet bill out of his pocket for this.
He does not charge money from the students and totally depends on donors. The children in the area cannot afford to pay. He also wants your help to provide incentives to encourage the parents to send the female students to join the school. At the moment there are only 22.
Contact him via the following contact details.
Iqra Asian International School, Murda Kareaz Road, Chaman, Balochistan, Pakistan
Facebook Handle https://www.facebook.com/rehmatullah.rehmat.566
WhatsApp Number 00923438031640