Profile: Zahra Ali is an environmental blogger who runs workshops on organic gardening and urban farming. She has developed a green curriculum for Grades 1 to 11 and is the founder of a community of Pakistani organic farmers who conduct work with underviliged communities and schools to promote urban farming and guerrilla gardening. She was elected as the vice president of The Greener Karachi Trust.
You can find Zahra’s articles in Newsline and the Express Tribune and follow what she’s up to on Facebook or her blog. Zahra spent two weeks at our school in March with students of Class 7 and introduced the school to a green curriculum through classes on composting, waste management and vegetable gardens in recycled bottle towers, all of which the students really enjoyed. We hope to launch these classes in a bigger and more regular manner starting next term. Here is Zahra’s testimonial of her experience:
“When I first visited Zindagi Trust's SMB Fatima Jinnah School, I thought that the old trees and open grounds made it ideal for gardening classes. With funds reserved for the green classes, the school can become a center for learning and promoting urban farming in schools. Last month, I taught 3 classes of 7th graders about composting and planting vegetables in recycled bottle towers.
The excitement of these passionate young souls was overwhelming. We had two classes with each section. Our first session was about waste management and composting. The students simply loved the idea and started a compost pit on campus for which they collected trash from the school's kitchen, the garden and their classrooms. In our next session we made a bottle tower using empty plastic bottles to grow vegetables.
The school can reduce their waste to 90% with this composting campaign and by making simple changes to their kitchen menu, the waste can go down to zero! Imagine the school's own organic vegetable garden for the kitchen where even parents can come and contribute their time.
I feel Zindagi Trust has so much potential to spread positive ideas and that is the reason I decided to volunteer at their school. I hope they are able to start green classes on a regular basis and provide training to teachers from other schools as well as to parents to promote a green curriculum across Pakistan. The one thing that made me happy was that despite the fact that I had only taught 7th graders, I saw that some 10th graders were composting on their own!”