With its vision of not just being a cutting edge research based university but also a university without barriers, LUMS has always maintained its stance on supporting the brightest minds across the country. With a strong emphasis on financial aid prevalent since its inception, LUMS also established the National Outreach Programme (NOP) in 2001 to extend the benefits of a world-class education to talented yet underprivileged students from all over Pakistan. In this journey, LUMS has been aided by many generous donors over the years. One such donor has been the Department of International Development (DFID), UK.
In June 2013, a LUMS-DFID partnership was founded through the ‘Empowerment through Education’ Initiative which constituted of a 5 year grant allocated towards providing scholarships to students inducted in the LUMS degree programmes and strengthening the process pipeline. As the project came to a close in August 2018, it was decided that a ceremony take place where DFID officials could not just meet some of the graduated students they had sponsored but hear their success stories and how their lives have been made better due to this initiative.
In lieu of the same, a LUMS-DFID Alumni Meet took place on December 15, 2018 at LUMS where a party of diverse DFID-sponsored graduates were invited to a session with DFID officials. Upon arrival, introductions were exchanged and students were asked to share their individual journeys and their current pursuits. As many Alumni had obtained their primary and secondary education from public schools prior to LUMS, the state of educational institutions was also discussed and suggestions exchanged on how to make things better.
Saima Anwar, Senior Education Advisor, DFID commended LUMS’ efforts in bringing together a varied pool of alumni while Omar Mukhtar, Governance Adviser, DFID expressed his contentment at hearing the success stories of the graduates present. Jinal Shah, Head of DFID Lahore discussed how post-graduation assistance should be provided by government and non-government bodies in order to further support students across the board. Dr. Adnan Khan, Dean of Student Affairs, LUMS joined in the discussion and highlighted the improvements made in the financial aid and NOP pipelines due to the technical support of the project grant. As tea and refreshments were served, one-on-one interaction between students and the officials took place allowing in-depth discussions to ensue.
As the event was planned to coincide with the Alumni Homecoming Weekend, upon conclusion of the session, DFID officials and students were invited to attend the Homecoming Musical Evening and Dinner.
DFID has an extremely benignant, progressive and cooperative donor and the support they have provided to students at LUMS has not only benefited their educational journeys but has in fact improved the lives of their families and communities at large.