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Khud students shine at TechJuice python bootcamp!

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It is not every day that you hear grade 7 kids participating in a university level bootcamp- especially those hailing from the underprivileged strata of the society. On 19th January, 2019 the young stars from Khud raised many an eyebrow when they participated in the bootcamp organized by TechJuice at the University of Central Punjab.

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The one-day bootcamp on Python covered an intense 4-hour curriculum designed to give participants complete, basic programming skills to use in their studies or workplaces. The bootcamp featured speakers and mentors from Arbisoft, one of the most prominent software houses in Pakistan.

Despite their young age, our kids were able to successfully grasp most of the python related concepts delivered at the bootcamp. This was largely possible due to their training in the programming course that was part of Khud’s digital curriculum. The mentors were very happy to see the excitement and confidence our students had shown. The bootcamp successfully managed to provide the much-needed exposure to the kids.

We would like to thank Techjuice for letting our kids be a part of this event. And wish them good luck with such future initiatives and look forward to continue participating in such events and in greater numbers.

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Annual Demo Day

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25th of December 2018 is the day we have all been waiting for. The day when all of the Khud family, including students, teachers, volunteers, mentors and patrons got together for an annual Demo Day!

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All of our collaborating schools made conveyance and arrangements for their respective students to assist participation in the Demo Day. The event not only provided students a platform to showcase and present their progress and projects but also provided a much-needed exposure.

Many renowned names from the education sector and tech industries attended the event. Besides applauding the students for the great show, they also provided them with their valuable feedback.

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The participating students invested a lot of effort in preparing the presentations and they were able to put up a marvelous show which was appreciated by all the guests. It was very heartwarming to see the underprivileged children discussing such complex ideas and future technologies. The whole event successfully established the fact that these students have a great potential and better opportunities can bring out the best in them.

Here’s to another year’s journey where we aim to equip more and more youth from the underprivileged areas with digital skills so that they may prepare themselves for the jobs in the future!

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Technology – The Solution for Poor Teaching System in Underdeveloped Countries

The basic reason of poor education system in under-developed countries is the lack, or an absolute absence, of good teachers. Every new phase of information technology has predicted that books will become obsolete. Books, however, have always proven to be resilient! But digital education can surely complement them and if executed properly can do wonders, especially in a country like ours. Paying more to teachers in a hope to get better educators is unfortunately not a practical solution.

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In such a scenario, EdTech can be our country’s best bet and we, at Khud, are set out on a mission to prove that. Through this, we use our funds on gathering resources for digital education, rather than spending them on teachers. It doesn’t mean simply dumping a bunch of computers in schools will make the children learn everything. What we actually do is to provide our collaborating schools with self-explanatory digital curriculum that can be used by the students with little or no aid from teachers.

Many wonder how a system based on technology can be successfully executed in a country which mostly doesn’t even have the basic infrastructure. But here we are, going forward with our mission and making impact despite all the challenges.

Our goal, however, has never been to replace books and teachers altogether. There are some great teachers that believe in our cause and work with us selflessly. EdTech actually allows us to complement their hard-work and enables us to package and scale the delivery of education on a level that is simply not possible via traditional education system.

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Sustaining in society with a disability is always tough.

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Sustaining in society with a disability is always tough. And lack of opportunities make it even tougher. But Zahra has never let that hold her back. A student herself, she has always looked for opportunities that could help her make contributions to the society.

Recently, she found one such opportunity in the form of internship at Khud, where she developed a basic digital curriculum for “Intro to Biology”, based on the content available on the internet. Zahra was tasked to compile the curriculum such that it was simple as well as engaging and fun for the students and that it needed little or no help of a technical teacher to be executed.

Despite her physical confinements, Zahra will be able to impact the lives of so many students. Hundreds of underprivileged students will be able to benefit from her work and knowledge, despite never meeting her in person. This could have only been possible in today’s age, with the use of technology. There can be no better validation of Khud’s vision. And we, at Khud, could not be prouder.

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Students at Zahoor School Going Techie!

Earlier this year, the IT lab at Zahoor School got a major upgrade in the form of a bunch of new computers installed in it. As expected, the impact that this addition created has been great. The students continued on with their courses as well as some new students were taken on board now that there were more computers.

The result was that our students are making progress by leaps and bounds. Some of their work includes changing background , creating hologram effect as well as using 3D camera Motion Tracker tool to attach different compositions in the given videos.

It makes us swell with pride to see our efforts bring fruition through the little achievements of our students like this. Because we believe it is small steps like these that will lead them to do great things in the future and that is when our work will be done. But until then, we will keep doing our best to equip students with digital skills of today.

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Our Students at the Aman Sarae Foundation Going Places!

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Earlier this year we started a video editing course at the Aman Sarae Foundation for the female students there. The course began from video editing basics and progressed into more advanced and technical aspects of video editing.

Keeping the tremendous success of the video editing course in mind and the level of interest shown by students in learning digital skills, Khud decided it was time to introduce new courses to the Aman Sarae curriculum. And why not!

These new planned courses included Graphic Design and Web Development as we have done with other schools previously. The latest update is that our students have already finished their first session of Graphic Design course and are showing as much enthusiasm as the previous batch, if not more.

The Graphic Design students have been trained enough that they have started to step in the professional world. One such case is our student Nadab who has started to intern at TechHub Connect at Arfa Software Technology Park. Moreover, two of the students at Aman Sarae Foundation namely Aqsa and Muskan recently attended a workshop held by the MIT Enterprise Forum at Arfa Software Technology Park.

It has been absolutely thrilling to see the reception these students showed towards the course of video editing and the progress they made in such a short time. We are looking forward to enabling more of our students with the opportunities to polish their skills. More on that later!

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Khud’s Journey at a Glance

Since its inception 3 years ago, Khud has been going strong with its mission to bring digital literacy to children from the underprivileged areas of Pakistan, operating in Lahore and its outskirts. The organization has expanded every year by continually updating and evolving its curricula to include more digital skills and by partnering with schools and organizations supporting the same cause.

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The journey our students have had over these years is simply awe-inspiring. These children have had phenomenal growth; from not even knowing what internet is to learning and working on projects covering everything from Artificial Intelligence to Graphic Design and programming languages like Python among so many other things. These children despite coming from underprivileged backgrounds with parents who are illiterate, have transformed exceptionally since they began working alongside Khud’s trainers.

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That is because Khud’s practices and teaching lessons employ a completely unique ‘self-executing’ curriculum offering digital skills that these children would otherwise not get an opportunity to learn, not even in conventional schools. We believe, self-learning is the best way to provide these children a fighting chance in this rapidly advancing technological world. With just a computer and a push in the right direction, Khud is helping open a world of opportunities for these children.

Moreover, these kids are being inculcated with the sense and knowledge of entrepreneurship in order to provide them with avenues of starting their own businesses and earning from them as well as enabling them to work with startups.

Khud team is all geared up to include more digital skills in its courses and curriculum aimed not only towards boys but also inclusively and exclusively towards young women from underprivileged areas. Acquiring more resources, the organization is aiming to scale for impact so that it can spread its mission to other cities of Pakistan as well and expand its message across boundaries!

 

 

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Opening New Avenues for Empowering Young Pakistani Women through Digital Skills

It is no hidden fact that Pakistani youth has a lot of talent and potential in all kinds of fields. And it is not only the male who fall into this category, young women in our country are as talented, smart and hard working as their male counterparts. We have ample proof of this fact among the students that we work with. Young girls in all the schools we work with have shown great progress in learning digital skills which is why we have made it our mission to develop inclusive as well as exclusive projects for our young female students.

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A few months back Khud started an exclusive project with a bunch of girls from one of the schools that we collaborated with. This entrepreneurial project was named Aletere (derived from an italian word) which was basically a fashion news aggregator. The project had a great potential, it kicked off nicely and started to show traction very quickly. Unfortunately, the project had to be parked due to logistical issues.

Instead of considering this as a failure, we see it as a learning curve. We now have come back with a new and better project idea about automation, taking in a new cohort of young female students coming from underprivileged background. We have recently concluded a month long orientation period where our cohort was helped with learning and excelling Microsoft Office, Social Media and Content Writing, all the basics which will help them work on this project independently.

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Currently, the cohort is being divided based on individual preferred skills so that everyone can do what they like to do instead of forcing the roles on them. With this project we are hoping to cater to a wider audience and have complete confidence that our cohort of these bright young girls will see the project through to success.

The idea behind starting such small scale entrepreneurial projects is to provide these young minds with an opportunity to get professional, more hands-on experience and to earn on their own rather than simply providing the training to relevant skills. It is like running a mini incubator, a self-funding training school in a hope that these women will use the ladder made out of digital skills to reach towards a better life and a bright future.

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Khud-Alternative Education Initiative

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Khud-Alternative Education Initiative

Taking forward the mission of alternative education initiative, Khud has recently developed an innovative, self-executing curriculum to be employed for schools with which Khud collaborates, whereby students enrolled at these schools will be able to choose a discipline and go through the course in methodical steps. The curriculums developed so far are Video-Editing, Presentations & Storytelling, Graphic-Designing and Programming.

Each curriculum is divided into approx. 30 stepping stones or stages that will guide students through the entire process and ensure a smooth transition process in between these steps.

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These stepping stones have been designed in a way that they begin with students merely looking up the topic of the particular course and devising their own interpretation of what they can expect from it, how the course might help them and what it is about.

For example, a student will not be ‘taught’ what is graphic design rather asked to Google the term and document his own interpretation for it. Similarly, practical knowledge will include student researching a logo design or a typography of his liking and redesigning it.

Khud has always prided in its strong inclination towards innovation and the willingness to face challenges head-on in order to attain the best of results for its students. Using this as our source of inspiration, we have developed these courses with the end goal of facilitating mastery over the particular course.

It’s a natural fact that children have an inherent curiosity to learn and given a chance and a proper environment for stimulating their young minds, they can achieve a lot more with self-learning than with conventional teaching.

We, at Khud, are huge proponents of Sugata Mitra’s ‘child-driven education’ and try to inculcate his methods of teaching in our processes in as much as logistically applicable. For example, because of the language barrier, we have a system of teachers and volunteers who help and guide our students with the knowledge of computers as well as understanding some advanced concepts.

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Our approach at Khud has always kept the interests of the students at heart, providing them with an opportunity to not depend on rote learning but utilize their creativity in the learning process. In a fast pacing world such as ours where the attention spans of children are reducing day by day, it has become crucial to put aside conventional classroom approach of rote learning, understand the aspects which can bring out the best self-learning abilities of the young minds and incorporate them in the topics being taught.

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Empowering Women with Digital Skills for a Better Tomorrow

Earlier this year, Khud joined hands with Aman Sarai Foundation situated in Walton area in Lahore to teach digital skills to under privileged girls. As a first step, Khud decided to start with teaching video editing to the girls. The purpose of this course is to empower these girls with practical digital skills that can help them find respectable jobs as well as provide them with an opportunity to earn remotely.

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A step-by-step course plan was followed for this course starting with a detailed introduction to Adobe Premiere, an understanding of its layout with the very first assignment on how to add content in Adobe.

In the next week, students learned the basics of Adobe Premiere and moved on to learning new features which included re-sizing of media clips, timeline adjustment, time duration adjustment and how to import pictures in Adobe. To make the students better adapted to the software, they were also taught the usage of shortcut keys related to Adobe Premiere. The week ended with a competition of watching a documentary and observing the different elements of the video.

During mid-January, students were taken to a little more advanced level of Premiere features and were taught how to import videos and audios in the software. Moreover, they were taught how to add text to a video and how to cut and adjust videos on a timeline using different audio clips. In a similar streak, they also learnt how to attach and detach audio from videos. That week ended with students starting to work on their first project.

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At the end of the month, the class was introduced to the use of transition and effects in audio and video and how to adjust the same. Now that the students were well-acquainted with the basic features of Adobe Premiere, they were tasked to work on a small project video in which they applied everything they had learned during the classes so far. Students made nice little clips where they applied effects and transitions and fine-tuned them with complimentary music taken off the internet. The subsequent classes included lessons on how to add subtitles to a video, adding transitions to these subtitles and finally how to export a video once made.

The principal of Aman Sarai Foundation appreciated Khud’s efforts with this project and stated “on behalf of Aman Sarai Foundation and Hafeez Ahmad Centre, I would like to thank Khud.org and Faryal for this wonderful learning experience. We would like to start thinking about the next course which is likely to attract many more applicants”.

Fast forward to March 2018 where these students were asked to practice making slideshow videos on Adobe Premiere. The purpose of this practice was to make the students familiar with different types of videos one can make in the software and different techniques that applies in each one of them.

Until mid-April, the students were well-equipped that they could be assigned tasks which involved putting their newly-learned skills to work. The class was divided into three groups and data for the new assignment was provided to them. Students took the next whole week to do research based work which will help them in coming up with a solid video.

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In the coming week, students will be making story boards with respect to their themes and will start executing these assignments.

With less than six months into the course, the course has already started producing results. Some students of this course have even started working on a couple commercial projects including one for a real estate business and for a project related to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.

All the students in the course have shown great promise and an honest passion to learn. While we are still taking baby steps with this project, we are already seeing fruition and have high hopes for this project’s success. Our followers will be updated with the progress of this class in the upcoming weeks.

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