Aqueduct’s story is a story of vision, commitment and passion. Our founder, Dr Peter Lingwood, tells us how it all began.
In amongst the brick kilns
“I was in Pakistan working for an international Engineering Consultancy and met a brick kiln worker who simply said to me “Can you help?”
The man explained that all his community was in debt. All they could do was try to pay this off by making bricks by hand. It was back breaking work with very long hours. But he doubted that they would ever pay off their debts so was trapped for life. His community had no hope. Neither did he, nor his children.
“So what might make a difference?” I asked. “A school for the children” was his reply, "education brings hope of a better job and escape from poverty.”
I was deeply moved and formed a plan of action and took it to other charities working in Pakistan. They couldn’t help. So I decided to. But how?
In every country I visited the local church, both to worship and to meet local people. I did the same whenever there was a project in Pakistan. Through an accidental contact in the UK I was introduced to a Christian pastor in Lahore. In 2000, with his help, I started the first school started with 8 children on the steps of his house: the children sat on the floor and the teacher’s desk was his motor bike!
Fifteen years on
That was 15 or so years ago. Since then we have become a registered UK charity. The number of schools has grown enormously and continues to grow. We have developed a system whereby we, equip each school and train the teachers. It is a family of schools growing together!
Our schools are having an amazing impact. Well-dressed uniformed children are regularly coming to school, they are learning to read and write for the first time. What gives me the greatest joy is to see them happily running and shouting and playing simple games. They have been released into being children again!
We still have schools for those working in the brick kilns. We still retain that original vision to give an education to the poorest, most marginalised people. We still bring hope where there is no hope.
What does the future hold?
Of course there is so much more to do. The task is huge as 25% of the 19.75 million children in Pakistan aged five to nine are out of school
Our vision has grown: It is not just about education: Aqueduct wants to transform whole communities by transforming individuals. It is said that only 15% of a community need to change for the whole community to change. Aqueduct is now aiming to develop, support and encourage those 15%
THIS IS AN EXCITING, DEMANDING VISION.
WE NEED THE FUNDS AND THE FRIENDS TO MAKE IT HAPPEN.
CAN YOU HELP?