Asghar Khan – The Resilient Pashtun

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Asghar Khan, an Activist for Peace and Love, Social Entrepreneur, Educationist, Democrat, and Nationalist, belongs to a middle class family from Quetta, Balochistan. Coming from a family of 9, his father is a government servant, while mother is a house wife, and all other siblings are doing their studies.  He is a nominee for Nelson Mandela Award, an Acumen Fellow, and winner of The Rising Rhino Award.

He runs an educational charitable foundation which is financed by local contributions of well to do members of the society. As he grew up in a tribal setup and aw the miseries faced by tribal communities in Balochistan, very closely. He started campaigns to overcome these threatening narratives, those campaigns yielded in shape of three different profitable and non-profitable ventures i.e. DEWA Foundation, The Joycation and Da Pohaanu Café.

The basic focus of DEWA is to educate the most disadvantaged and poor sections of tribal areas. DEWA is a Pashto word, meaning an earthen lamp. DEWA stands for Development, Education, Welfare and Advocacy. It is a non-profit and purely humanitarian organization.

In just two years, DEWA has succeeded in convincing a number of families in the tribal areas that education and social change is incumbent. One of the hindrances in Pakistan’s progress road is Women Empowerment, specifically in Balochistan. In this regard, DEWA has made different attempts to persuade people that education for women is equally important. DEWA gave women in Balochistan the opportunity to inaugurate their careers as school teachers and make a decent economic contribution to the income of their families. This school is not only focused on that one aspect rather it’s providing an academically conducive and financially economical environment to the students.

“I envision Pakistan as a developed and prosperous country in my lifetime and DEWA Foundation is the first step for me in that direction.”

Asghar believes the world is witnessing waves of terror which has destabilized this human populated region. He thinks that this world is a global village where we have to live in a positive chain of coexistence. So the current issues are universal in nature and their solutions must be sought in collaboration with the global community. He suggests that the rich have either moved or are moving to greener pastures, leaving behind the dejected lot.

“I have multiple interests when it comes to serving and shaping my future and the larger future of my own country.”

Asghar never believed in an escapist approach and decided to wage his own battle- a battle for peace and prosperity. It was a difficult path. He knew that an individual effort is not going to work, at all and he needed the entire youth to wake up.

“I am convinced, that education is the only way forward. Therefore, I planned my first school  DEWA and convinced my friends, fellows and associates to join me in this cause.” 

Pakistan is a country blessed with human and natural resources and he is optimistic that Pakistan will make a successful transition from being an underdeveloped country to a developed one in his lifetime. He believes that we need an effective educational system. That`s why DEWA Foundation focus on modern technology-oriented education. Global citizenship lies at the core of its values and this mindset is reinforced through continuous co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.

“I envision Pakistan as a developed and prosperous country in my lifetime and DEWA Foundation is the first step for me in that direction.”

At this point in time, Asghar has successfully established two non-profit schools in District Pishin, Tehsil Karezat in 2014 and 2016 respectively, and enrolled 125 in Margha Zakaryazai campus, and 61 in Khanozai campus. A total strength of 186 studets out of which 131 (70.7%) are boys and 54, girls (29%), out of these 52 students are getting scholarships i.e 30.2 %. while employed 18 people, with 16 female teachers. DEWA looks forward to educating 18600 children belonging to his community teaching them the core values of global citizenship and non-violence.

“I aspire to join mainstream Pakistani politics and serve as one of the political executives in the future and intend to reform the education sector in the province which presently follows an education policy that is outdated and does not meet local needs and global demands.”

When it comes to politics, he believes that no state can ever progress and keep pace with progressing times if its youth remain apolitical. Hence, in order to encourage youth to be active, politically, he founded“Da Pohaanu café”- meaning The Intellectuals Café, which promotes the core values of Democracy, Non-Violence,  Global Citizenship, Good Governance  and commits itself to becoming a vibrant center for constructive dialogue in Balochistan.

Promoting education in this part of the world is itself a novel idea for the masses. To work for any change is a challenge in the region and Asghar and his team are trying to achieve that through working on ideas that effectively convince the masses to prepare for a progressive future.

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