PepsiCo Pakistan has launched its new ‘Child Education Program’ in partnership with the Institute of Rural Development (IRM) to educate out-of-school children (OOSC) residing in rural agricultural communities near PepsiCo’s operations and prepare them to integrate into the mainstream education system. The program launch was announced during a signing ceremony in the presence Syed M. Abul Hassan Kazmi, Sr. Director Supply Chain & Office of Sustainability Lead, PepsiCo Pakistan and Mr. Aasim Reza, Program Manager IRM.
Under the Child Education Program funded by PepsiCo, IRM will develop five SMART Schools for the rural communities in district Kasur, Punjab. The SMART schools are low-cost educational setups that leverage existing resources to educate out-of-school children in a multi-grade classroom setting. The program will offer free educational programs in compliance with the national curriculum and will be tailored to the needs of children who are unable to access public school systems due to limited access or other common barriers to education. Additionally, a children’s day-care center has also been piloted for mothers engaged as field workers at PepsiCo’s potato farms in Fatehpur village in Kasur, supporting them in tackling the usual barriers to continue working in agricultural activities and benefitting from income. PepsiCo’s on-farm day-care facility features a playroom, learning center, and an outdoor play area.
During the signing ceremony Syed M. Abul Hassan Kazmi, Sr. Director Supply Chain & Office of Sustainability Lead, PepsiCo Pakistan shared his insights, “Far too many children are out-of-school in Pakistan and the country has incurred learning losses particularly since the pandemic. The Child Education Program is underpinned by a commitment to build a positive value chain and strengthen our farming communities by furthering learning and development opportunities for young children to thrive.”
The program has been launched as part of the company’s broader pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) transformational agenda which focuses on driving positive action for people and benefitting the communities where PepsiCo operates. As a leading global company, PepsiCo has been positively leveraging its scale and influence to pioneer inclusive community-based partnerships which support people especially youth and children in realizing their full potential.
IRM is a leading capacity development and learning facility that offers a diverse range of training programs that are especially designed to cater to the needs of rural communities. So far, IRM has established 61 SMART Schools across Pakistan, educating a total of 2,010 children, most of them being girls.
Mr. Aasim Reza, Program Manager IRM also highlighted the importance of the program and stated, “SMART Schools are an efficient and cost-effective way to offer children quality education that they deserve and are entitled to. We are grateful to PepsiCo for joining hands with us for this important cause.”