To make the transition from a stable, lucrative career path to voluntary work, especially to initiate something completely innovative and untried is never easy. She had to face skepticism and disapproval from her family, there was no seed money since no one is prone to spend on something that virtually doesnot exist and the outcome of which is not physically productive.She summarized her experience of rejection as "It is also very difficult, I have realized, to sustain enthusiasm of voluntary workers in Pakistan. Money makes the mare go, literally: and that was hard and painful to realize. Social changemakers must also realize that while you will find lots of people on the way who will admire your work and express their desire to support it and wish you ever so well, actual help will materialize VERY seldom. Get used to hear nice things about your work, which at the end of the day, mean nothing at all".Apart from that, she had hard-time learning the use of basic technology that her own project depended. Being a majors in pure Humanities and Social Sciences, she had a VERY hard time grappling with all the new technology that VEFA Pakistan is based upon. As she stated "all technology I knew was to check my email and update my facebook status."
Like every big name, she had a time in her life when she felt that fate had nothing good left to drop in her jar. It was When she had to purchase their first batch of equipment and there was no way to pay for it, the lawyer demanded his exorbitant fee to get us registered and the registration officials demanded that they should have their own office space, hire full time personnel and so much else when she had nothing but ideas and raw passion. She says "I was near to giving up altogether. Also, when despite several 'training sessions' to get me used to the kind of educational technology VEFA Pakistan involved I would not be able to use it independently, I would often reach breaking point and say ITS OVER!"
When asked about any silly moment she replied, "Errrmmm..., maybe when I got my first loan/grant to help purchase stuff to start work with, I was very nervous and frightened, having never been part of a direct financial transaction and being almost intimidated by banks. Frankly, I do not understand money and money matters much. Although the money was being given by a friend I knew, I was very anxious to follow the 'standard legal procedure' for everything. I insisted we do it all in writing, with proper legal terminology, and sign it... I then added that we must have at least two witnesses or it would not be valid at all. There was no one else in the place at all at the time, and it could not be possible to get two witnesses for the 'ceremony' unless we postponed this, which VEFA could not afford. So my friend, maybe a little annoyed by my insistence, blurted out, 'we make this photograph of a person no less than the Quaid e Azam, our witness for the deal.' His sense of humour made me realize how annoying I was becoming, maybe out of my nervousness. Alhamdulillah, VEFA Pakistan managed to pay back the loans after barely a month, in that same room, with Jinnah watching over us, again."
VEFA Pakistan was no more than a vague idea 6 months ago. Today 60+ students are directly benefitting from its work. Their progress has been consistent despite lots of hurdles on the way and in near future she is determined to establish more academies, and launch some innovative schemes for sustainable resource generation. She also aims to expand the VEFA Pakistan idea and get youth to volunteer for it. Thus expansion of volunteering programme! She expressed her satisfaction on being part of VEFA in following words,"I believe one must always live for something higher than one's day job that gets the salary cheque. Although I have never had a commercial motive in my work, and have tried to be part of institutions with a mission, I always felt something was amiss from my work, because the impact of my contribution was confined to those who could pay the fee to enter the institutions of learning where teachers like myself offered their services. Somehow I wanted to be able to contribute to education 'for all', for the children on the streets and in schools that are in so many ways almost hostile to real learning and healthy personality development. VEFA Pakistan enables me to fulfill that deep, long held desire, and provides an opportunity for many others like me to contribute to provide education with quality for that 'other' half that we have so criminally forgotten... and to do so without having to give up their current employment commitments and their understandably important salary cheques!"She expects the youth to be aware of their tremendous potential and realize that they need to channelize it positively in ways that can effectively contribute to the wider world. She expects them to be conscious of their tremendous responsibility towards the communities they are part of. Among the educated youth of the country, she want to see the spirit of volunteerism rise, "young people must devote their time and energy towards social uplift, and this is the best time they can do so. At VEFA Pakistan we have lots of volunteering opportunities for anyone who can spare the time... we need volunteers to spare one hour every Saturday to be with children who need mentors. We need anyone with a flair for teaching, who can speak Urdu and can use a computer, to work (at home) for a couple of hours every weekend, to add to our resource base. VEFA Pakistan NEEDS young people!"
She is of faith that Social changemakers must BELIEVE that the world does not have to be what it is. They must be persistent and never, ever give up. They must be selfless and work beyond material goals. Only this will prove as cornerstone to keep us going through the hard times that will always come for those who wish to change things.