Lahore – Kiran Sitara Program, IRD and Indus Health Network in collaboration with the Department of Education, Government of Sindh organized a conference “She Leads” at the PAF ground on 16th December 2017. ‘She Leads’ conference was conducted to highlight and celebrate the success of young students participated in the Kiran Sitara program. This initiative is an Adolescent Health and Leadership program which mobilizes young girls at government schools and private schools across Pakistan. By teaching adolescent students skills such as communication, negotiation, leadership, human rights and combining that with basic health care knowledge and directives, the Kiran Sitara is creating a network of social impact leaders.
Mr. Qadeer Baig, Director of Youth Engagement Program, IRD while addressing at the conference said that “The Kiran Sitara program is currently working with over 200 schools across Pakistan and over 30,000 girls who have successfully completed their healthcare and leadership training. The goal is to impact 200,000 households and 1.5 Million difficult to access people in low income communities across Karachi, Peshawar, Hyderabad, Sukkur and Lahore.”
Speaking on this occasion, Dr. Abdul Bari Khan, Chief Executive Officer of Indus Health Network stated, “Approximately 50% of Pakistan’s total population comprises of women but unfortunately, in many communities women are not given equal access to quality education and opportunities. He further stated that, “building a network of trained and active adolescent school going girls through this initiative will enable us to access, women living in those communities and educate them to promote behavior change for healthier lifestyles.”
While speaking at the conference, the Chief Minister Sindh – Syed Murad Ali Shah stated, “The Kiran Sitara program aims to enhance leadership skills of adolescent students by providing trainings to improve their confidence, improve educational performance and ameliorate their communication competency.” He further added, “These networks can be further utilized to influence their communities to promote social causes. The ability of young people to connect and counsel each other allows them to share and scale their own solutions.”
The conference was attended by more than 10,000 Kiran Sitara students of Secondary Education schools, teachers and members of Department of Education, Sindh Government. While giving a speech in the conference, students and teachers suggested that such a program needs to be part of the school curriculum so that all students can get the opportunity to participate in promoting healthcare in Pakistan.
Currently the Kiran Sitara program is training adolescent girls how to identify basic symptoms of TB and training them to send people to key healthcare facilities for further testing. By harnessing the potential of students and schools as “Actors of Social Change”, this indigenous community outreach campaign is designed as part of Aoa Tb Mitao campaign to increase uptake of screening and treatment services for a TB free Pakistan. Each girl is responsible to conduct verbal screenings in at least 20-25 households in her neighborhood, provide referral tokens to diagnosed patients for clinical programs at public and private institutions for free TB care and treatment. In this way, this initiative can succeed in fulfilling the goals of TB Mitao Program.
The conference was also attended by Mr. Younis Khan, a former Pakistani Cricketer and a brand ambassador of ‘Aao TB Mitao’ initiative, who acknowledged the efforts of these young girls. Shehzad Roy, a musician and a humanitarian, also performed at the event and entertained the audience with his soulful voice.