Educationist Taner Koçyiğit wrote about the first fundraiser for education services participated by the businessmen in Lahore and how PakTurk Schools gradually transitioned from villa-type school buildings to campuses.
Our businessman acquaintances in Lahore were firmly convinced that the fate of the country would change if they supported and developed educational services. That’s why they reached out to all cities across Pakistan and even the villages, and competed in giving merit scholarships to bright students.
Although the financial and economic conditions of the businessmen we had been in touch were sound, the education costs and the number of students increased on each day. The school buildings repurposed from villas were no longer sufficient. A new school plot was purchased and constructing the purpose-built school was completed assisted by Turkish and Pakistani businessmen. Eventually, our school’s student capacity suddenly increased fivefold. This meant more scholarship students and the need for more scholarships. In addition, constructing the dormitory had not yet begun. We also needed serious financial support for the dormitories and other expenses. In such an atmosphere, devoted businessmen attended to a fundraiser organized by the PakTurk Foundation.
I had never been to a foundation fundraiser before. I was just as excited as the businessmen there. That evening, I had had the pictures of Turkey’s most beautiful historical towns framed to be presented to the attendees. Along with the gifts, I set out for Mr. Zahir’s office, where the first fundraiser would be held. The ones similar to the cash assistance meetings organized for decades by those providing education services in Turkey would then be held by Pakistani volunteers themselves thousands of kilometres away from Turkey. It was impossible not to get excited. With these thoughts in mind, I arrived at the meeting place. The businessmen had arrived and taken their seats.
70-year-old uncle’s excitement for education services!
We started the meeting by watching a video explaining the significance of sublime services to education and humanity. Afterwards, there were talks about everyday matters. A spokesperson listed the needs for education services in our city and explained the amount to be collected. When businessmen told the amounts of donation they would give, they thought their task had been over. The person who chaired the meeting stated, besides the amount they had given, the businessmen should also request donations from people they know. Because there was much more needed than the promised amount. Businessmen were surprised at first, but soon they listed the people they could contact and the amounts they would request from those people. We were all witnessing the mutual promises with enthusiasm and the sincere feelings of Pakistani businessmen who competed for the better upbringing of new generations.
We had a retired uncle aged over 70 in the meeting. The donations he said he promised to find, despite his limited financial means, surprised us all. “That’s all I promised, but I’ll work day and night to find more!” he said, boosting the motivation of all participants. Everyone thought the services to be provided to the people of Pakistan and the Pakistani children would grow even more and so they showed a great effort. The owner of the office where the meeting was held also showed great generosity and promised to donate a significant part of the needed amount. This businessman later built a school by his own means and hand the key of the school, built and equipped thoroughly as ready for education, to our foundation. Building a school by one’s own means and donating it to the PakTurk Education Foundation became a tradition. Five schools built by businessmen in different cities of Pakistan were equipped and donated this way.
One tenth of the needed was gathered but we had full faith
At the end of this fundraiser, the participating businessmen were all smiles. We were also happy to have received the promise of the amount, which was our objective. There was a unique bliss in everyone who had promised to donate, and this was due to investing in Pakistan’s future and people, being a part of such an exquisite project. When it was time to say goodbye, one businessman said, “This is our project and it is a necessary investment for our own children. Don’t worry, we will carry the ball from now on; we will implement the projects as quickly as we can.” He put us all at ease. Meanwhile, the director general of the PakTurk Schools gifted a painting of the Blue Mosque (the Sultanahmet Mosque in Istanbul) to Mr. Zahir, the owner of the workplace, saying, “May Allah grant you the favour to leave behind yourself such works!” Mr. Zahir replied, “I hope we will be able to build more beautiful ones!”
Meanwhile, someone who had calculated the donation said the money collected equalled to nearly one-tenth of all needs, but that he knew that the project would be completed with the help of Allah. He also said, “Allah converts 6 to 60”. As we left this sweetly exciting meeting, everyone had prayers on their lips and a firm belief in their hearts that the project would soon be completed.
To be continued…
Part Twenty-Nine: Immemorial ancestral lands and visits by Turkish businessmen…