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Project Topi is a student run welfare society at Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute Of Engineering Sciences and Technology that works in the sectors of Health, Education, Social welfare and Emergency relief situations . It is a non-government non-profit voluntary organization based primarily in Topi village of District Swabi in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan; hence, the name. It contributes towards the well being of people living in the Topi village and the surrounding areas through a group of committed volunteers wholly from within the student body of GIK Institute with the aim of creating a learning environment for the children of Topi so that they are motivated towards education not only to succeed in their lives but also to bring prosperity to the region.
- 1 Introduction
- 2 Mission statement
- 3 Education
- 4 Healthcare
- 5 Social Welfare
- 6 Emergency Relief
- 7 Executive Committee 2016-2017
- 8 Notable Members
- 9 See also
- 10 Notes and references
Project Topi was founded in the fall of year 2000 by a group of volunteers from within the student body of Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute Of Engineering Sciences and Technology with the sole aim of bringing some positive change in the existing plight of school-going children in Topi. The vision behind the society was to show how sincere and dedicated efforts of a few people can inspire so many to join hands with them and make a valuable contribution in eradicating the social and economic disparity that lies on either sides of the gates of GIK institute. The very act of students taking time out of their hectic schedule in order to teach local students and provide them with the motivation and aspiration they lacked so much is a symbol of love and affection that helped to bridge the gap between two completely different social classes. Since its inception Project Topi has increased to an ever-present and well respected society within the GIK institute. In these turmoil times Project Topi has always stood with affected people of man-made or natural calamities. Recent help to the Bajaur IDPs as well as earthquake victims has been an example of the commitment and hardwork of team Project Topi. It is a symbol of hope that extends beyond the horizon of Topi and its work is being appreciated by people all over Pakistan.
The society works for the benefit of the community in four core areas:
- Social welfare
- Emergency relief
Presently majority of the society's work is centered around GIK Institute campus and in areas in its immediate vicinity but an effort is being made to extend its work to other regions of the country as well.
The Society aims at increasing the literacy rate of the community and improving the standard and effectiveness of its educational institutions, and so, works:
- To help students with learning difficulties pursue their education by providing them with free tuition.
- To help deserving students pursue their education by providing them with financial aid and scholarships.
- To identify talented students in near bye schools and encourage them through various award ceremonies and helps them build confidence by making them compete with the best students in the country.
- To maintain the infrastructureof educational and civic institutes in needy areas.
The Executive Committee defines a deserving student as one who is unable to study because of:
- Lack of teacher(s).
- Medical reasons.
- Financial reasons.
Or any other difficulty or hindrance that is considered just by the Executive Committee.
At the start of every academic year, Project Topi organizes schooling activities for Students of Topi. The schooling activity focuses on providing free tuitions by volunteers in the premises of school and plans are to introduce motivational and English speaking workshops. Educational Scholarships are also provided to many students who cannot afford to buy the school books or uniforms etc. Currently Project Topi is active in 3 schools in Topi catering up to 500 students. It is heartening to know that Project Topi with its limited publicity is able to get enough volunteers for the smooth running of schooling facilities. Maybe my assumption of a dead youth doesn’t materialize here.
IT Outreach Program
Project Topi launched its IT Outreach Program as part of its efforts to bring prosperity to the region of Topi in the field of education by providing students with necessary facilities. The program includes setting up of computer labs in various government high schools in the surrounding areas of GIK Institute, and also providing basic computing training to the students. The first laboratory was set up at Government High School Hamlet in October 2012.
Contributing to the improvement of health sector in backward areas is one of the major goals of Project Topi. Since its establishment in 2000, every possible effort is being made to channelize the available resources to maximum effect in health sector.
Project Topi collects funds (mostly from the student body of GIKI) to finance costly surgical procedures or other treatments for people who cannot bear their medical expenses. Recently, Project Topi arranged for artificial limbs for an acutely disabled person. Today, with the help of those who care, he can walk again. The society also tries to help GIKI employees who need medical assistance.
In addition, the Society strives to organize blood donation camps twice a year in collaboration with different organizations like Fatimid foundation and Red Crescent as a gesture of care and generosity for those in need. It works closely with hospitals and other medical institutions in the region.
The society works for the social Welfare of students within GIKI as well as for the locals outside the institute. With the help of the administration, the society helps the needy students within GIKI by aiding them in paying their mess bills and in other instances where they may require assistance. Project Topi has also successfully persuaded the GIKI alumni to provide scholarship to selected students who cannot pursue their education without financial assistance. Its alumni now actively donates for various social welfare projects.
It also strives to convince philanthropists in all districts of Pakistan to institute at least one scholarship for the study of needy student from their district, who get admitted on merit in GIKI. This is done again with the help of GIKI administration.
Project Topi also attempts to increase social awareness through various seminars and awareness programs on pressing issues.
Project Topi was meant to be a symbol of hope and thus in moments of turmoil its importance is even further exaggerated. In calamities such as the earthquake in 2005 and the floods in 2010, Project topi always rises to the occasion and acts with responsibility and affections for our brothers in distress. In fact one of the pinnacle Projects of The society has been the Flood relief activities in 2010 and the earthquake relief activities in 2005. The role and activities of Project Topi exponentially increases during these testing times and member participation is at maximum. It is notable that people who were not even enrolled as members of the society, came forward during these times and stood hand-in-hand with Project Topi, so much so that it was able to carry out relief activities worth more than 1 million rupees
Micro Finance for Flood Affectees
Through 'Micro-Finance Program for Flood Affected People', 6 different people shortlisted by Al-Khidmat Foundation, were provided with the basic elements necessary to resume their business activities so they may start supporting their families again. In this regard, a Taxi Driver whose taxi was damaged due to water from severe flood was given the opportunity to repair his taxi and buy new engine for it, as his entire family was solely dependent on the earnings coming from that taxi. Among others was also an owner of a small electric store, whose shop was washed away in flood and he had lost all his equipment and instruments in the water. New equipment and other electric store items were bought for him too so that he may start his business again and stand on his own feet. Similarly a crockery store owner, whose utensils were all lost in the flood, was bought new crockery items for his shop to lay a foundation for him to start earning again. Also a Milk-man was helped by buying him 3 milk cartons and 80 liters of milk to revive his business. A fruit-seller who had lost everything in the floods was bought fruit items and the food stall to help him set up his fruit shop again. In this regard, an independent electrician was helped too by providing him his necessary electric items (electric board, instruments etc.) to facilitate a fresh start of his professional activities.
About 20 million people were affected by the recent floods in the country. Many lost almost everything. They lost their houses, wealth, animals and crops. Villages in district Nowshera were heavily damaged. Project Topi took a stand and immediately started working to help these people. Our first relief package was for more than 250 people and was distributed among a village in Nowshera. It included 20 kg rice, 3 liter oil, and 3 kg sugar along with the same quantity of rice, pulses and beans. Tea was also included in the package.
Malakand IDPs Support
In 2009 due to the aggravating situation during the operation of security forces in Swat Valley and the adjoining areas, the local population of these underdeveloped areas was forced to move towards malakand and its surroundings. These people left their homes and walked empty-handed and helpless to the temporary camps set up by the Pakistan Army. Fortunately, This issue was timely covered by the media and these people came to be known as Internally Displaced People (IDP’s). Immediately, Project Topi stood up to the task and started raising funds. The students and faculty of GIK Institute gathered around 4 Lakh 50 Thousand rupees in a limited time and a group consisting of students and professors reached the Malakand area and distributed the relief items among the deserving people.
Bajaur Refugees Aid Mission
During November 2008, when the harsh winter was dawning upon the war-disrupted north-eastern areas of NWFP, and more than 300,000 had fled their homes to seek refuge in scattered parts of the province, a van approached one of the remote refuges as a herald of peace. Bajaur has been the target of American-Pakistani military operations for several months now and the majority of the residents had become tired of the bloodshed and therefore migrated to refugee camps and other settlements. Project Topi took up the task of helping as much as possible the nearest settlements of these refugees. We visited different places i.e. Peshawar, Mardan and Swabi in search of the most deserving people of our help. Refugees at Peshawar and Mardan are in camps and NGOs are working there to help them but refugees residing in Swabi, Topi and nearby areas of Swabi were deprived of such sheltering. The settlements in Swabi near Topi were set as the target for the mission. We collaborated with Al-Khidmat Foundation for identifying the refugee families and called a representative from each family to collect their part of the goods we had brought for them. Project Topi members collected an amount of Rs. 73,000 from the GIKI community to distribute essentials to the needy. A total of 82 representatives from different families of the refugees were given the aid packages from Project Topi. The package consisted of a set of razai, talai, 2 kg rice and 1 kg ghee. Though our help would not resolve all their problems but surely, it will help them to ease their sorrows.
Rehabilitation Work in Balakot (November 2005)
The fundamental aim of Project Topi is to work for the betterment of educational sector of remote areas of the country like Topi. Therefore, after rescue and relief operations, the executive council of the Project Topi decided to focus on the education of the children of the earth-quake affected areas during the rehabilitation phase. To start with, Project Topi team assisted Islami Jamiat-e-Taliba in the planning phase of establishing a tent school in Shahooter Balakot on 28 October 2005. Later on, more tent schools were based by the Project Topi at Thanda Khatta whose planning and financial matters were all dealt by the Project Topi. Islami Jamiat-Taliba provided their guidance and much-needed help throughout the process. Consequently, the second tent school at Thanda Khatta started on 12 November 2005 which was named as Umeed School.
After the mid-term examinations, a sixteen-member student team went to Balakot with goods and clothing for relief operation in collaboration with Islami Jamiat-e-Taliba. During this period of mid-term breaks, these students went to the far off regions of Balakot to provide relief goods. They stayed there till Eid-ul-Fitr. Project Topi team also assisted Islamic Jamiat-e-Taliba in the planning phase of establishing a tent school in Shahooter, Balakot on 28 October 2005.
Earthquake relief operations (October 2005)
After the initial phase of rescue, the relief operation was carried out in a planned manner. Team Project Topi, with the help of GIKI student community, continuously raised funds for the relief operations. Many trips were made to different areas whose details are mentioned as under: With relief goods, we made: 1. Three trips to Balakot (N.W.F.P.) 2. Three trips to Batgram (N.W.F.P.) 3. One trip to Buttle (N.W.F.P.) 4. Two trips to Rawlakot (Kashmir) 5. One trip to Bagh (Kashmir) 6. Two trips were also made to Bagh (Kashmir) in collaboration with Hidaya Foundation Islamabad. In total Rs 2 million was raised from which Rs 1.5 million were raised from GIKI community.
Executive Committee 2016-2017
Executive Committee Of Project Topi consists of the members from senior batch (Fourth Year Students). Current Executive Committee members are:
- Hassan Babar, President
- Zahid Nawaz, Vice-President
- Arham Nawaz, Co Event Coordinator
- Fiza Bari, Co Event Coordinator
- Omar Masood Khan, Director Operations
- Misbah Sohail, Director Outreach
- Shahzeb Tareen, Director Health
- Qazi Ahmad, Director PC Lab
2015 Executive Committee:
- Shoaib Akram, President
- Hassan Tatla, Vice-President Operations
- Ali Khan, Vice-President Finance
- Saad Najib, Director PC Lab
- Muneeb Hussaini, Director IT Outreach Program
- Sohail Khan, Director Health operations
- Hassan Babar, Head of Human Resource
- Omar Masood Khan, Head of IT and Technical Support
Founding Executive Committee:
- Yaser Ajmal Sheikh
- Zulfiqar Ali Khan
- Malik Mehrali Saleh
- Rafiq Durrani
- Majid Khan
- An ex Project Topi Member and Gikian Asad Abbas Awan from Batch14 was awarded Tamgha-e-Imtiaz for public service.[no citations needed here] Basis of the award were his efforts to collect money for the family of gardener who died in PAF trainer aircraft crash in GIKI and his outstanding work with Project Topi in 2005 earthquake rescue, relief and rehabilitation. The investiture ceremony took place on Pakistan Day on 23 March 2012.[no citations needed here]
Notes and references
- Student societies at GIKI:"Student societies at GIKI"
- Daily Times:Leading News Resources of Pakistan:"News From Daily Times by Saad Anis"
- The Frontier Post:"Quilts, food distributed among IDPs in Bajaur F.P. Report"
- "A Tribute to Raja Jahanzeb - A Legend (Youth Magazine)". http://jang.com.pk/thenews/feb2008-weekly/us-29-02-2008/p15.htm. Retrieved 1 October 2014.