Building A School for Socially Excluded Keehal Community

Project Overview

Operating Costs/Month: $1

Teacher/Student Ratio: 1:50

Total Students: 100 enrolments/session

The school will provide education to the indigenous Keehal community, which falls in the ultra poor, vulnerable poor and transitory poor categories of poverty and are unable to afford quality education. Out of a population of 800 people, only 4 men are literate. Due to social discrimination and past association with begging and prostitution, the Keehals have been unable to assimilate into the local community, making it impossible for the children to attend other low cost private or public schools. SERVE is – for the first time – offering the community access to primary education.

ADP funds in particular will be used for:

  • 2 Classrooms
  • 1 Washroom
  • A boundary wall with wiring
  • Electricity Wiring and fans
  • Furniture
  • Water coolers

Investment Rationale

With over 300 children in the community, almost all with no other schooling option, the school will serve 60-100 students initially, with the number increasing on a yearly basis. 50% of the students will be girls. Apart from the critical need, the ADP team was inspired to fund this project because:

  • Learning outcomes at other existing SERVE schools are far superior to other public and private outcomes. For instance, while 100% of SERVE 5th graders can read a sentence in English, ASER results for the DI Khan District show that only 34.8% of 5th graders can usually achieve this. Similarly while 98% of SERVE students can perform basic arithmetic division and 80% can read a story in Urdu, district averages are 49% and 45% respectively.
  • The low operating cost of PKR 50 per student at the proposed school stands out. SERVE is being supported by the National Commission for Human Development and Ittehad Development Organization, who are providing the school with free teachers and textbooks. This partnership will keep costs low and quality of education high.
  • SERVE has been working with the community for over three years and the demand for the school has arisen organically from the community itself, with the community agreeing to pay partial fees, despite the poverty level, and provide for a security guard free of cost to protect the school.

NGO Profile

SERVE was established in 1998 in KPK with a mission to proactively foster partnership building between communities and development partners, including governments, for poverty reduction, holistic, and sustainable development of underprivileged people through rights-based and participatory approaches. SERVE works in District D.I Khan, District Tank and South Waziristan. In education, SERVE has worked with the KPK government to provide missing facilities and improve the learning environment in government schools. SERVE also runs two of its own schools with close to 100% student and teacher attendance and superior learning outcomes. SERVE has previously worked with the Poverty Alleviation Fund and the UN.

Key Metrics

Critical need:  Keehals are an indigenous group of people, which live along river Indus, and used to travel up and down the river according to their livelihood and cultural needs. However the introduction of the Fishing Ordinance has meant that they have lost their main source of livelihood and have had to resort to begging and prostitution to make their ends meet. Social discrimination prevents the Keehals from attending mainstream schools and thus only 4 men are literate from a community of over 800 people. This school will serve as their only schooling option, which will eventually help them break the poverty cycle.

Beneficiaries/Social Return: 60-100 students, and their families (initially).

Longevity: There are approximately 300+ children in the community currently so demand for the school is high and enrolment is likely to continue to increase. The school will serve generations of the Keehals to come.

Scalability: Due to the low operating costs, this model could be scaled to target other vulnerable communities that SERVE works with.


Due Diligence Questions: 

1)      If the community is nomadic, what if they leave the area and the school remains idle?  

The community is no longer nomadic. SERVE has been working with the community for over three years through its HID and Livelihood Enhancement program and has helped the community purchase land. The Keehals are now permanently residing in the area where the school will be constructed.

2)      Will the Keehals breakaway from traditional earning methods and enroll their children in school?

ADP has received a list of 100 students from parents who wish to enroll their children immediately

3)      What percent of the students will be girls?



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Type: Education
Cost: $22,258

Location: Thoya Fazil, D.I Khan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Launched: April 2015