UP-CLOSE-TAABEER-ATHAR

Think of a time during your education when you were inspired. How has it influenced you?

Well, funnily enough, during my education what honestly inspired me was playing sports. Of course, academics are important, but what I really learned the most from was a variety of sports that I was profoundly involved in from my school years, up till graduation. It essentially taught me that the key to reach your goal, is not any one individual, but the team. I also learned the fact that win or lose, it’s all part of the game. It doesn’t matter how good you get, there will always be someone better, which ultimately pushes you to become the best.

Has someone helped you get to where you are today?

I don’t really think it’s possible to “get to” anywhere on your own, help is a perpetual part of the process. As most people do, I give credit to my mother, bearing in mind that this response is anything but generic. It’s not easy to put into words what she has done for her kids. The sacrifices and struggles that she has experienced to educate me, build my confidence, and give me exposure, as an empowered and self-reliant individual, are immeasurable. She is my constant through everything, as well as my confidante, my counselor, and maybe even my crutch from time to time. Whatever value I bring to my personal and professional life, is a result of her efforts.

At VTT Global we’re trying to surround our employees with good people — and the direction you’re on will get brighter.

VTT is a whirlwind, the work is intense yet exciting, which I feel has possessed this place with a magnetic energy. The environment is great, and you’re always sure about the fact that someone’s got your back at all times. The concept of “hierarchy” is very flexible, as everyone has been given autonomy to explore and experiment. This form of security, coupled with freedom, is a rare thing in today’s world.

Aim Big!

I’ve been given some exhilarating opportunities during my time at VTT. The Multi-Year Humanitarian Programme (MYHP) in Pakistan, funded by DFID, has been an eye opener in various ways. The realities in terms of managing and mitigating disaster-affected populations are harsh. VTT team has been onboarded by the Pakistan Evidence and Learning Platform (PELP) (managed by UNITAR), to carry out the Third-Party Monitoring of the three pillars of MYHP. Since October, our team has been working obstinately in field and at desk, to accurately gauge and report findings from numerous complex regions, such as Chitral and FATA. The aim is to feed into an evidence and learning based mechanism, one that can generate and disseminate meaningful information for the knowledge of the whole humanitarian sector of Pakistan.

Similarly, I was also given the chance to work on the Institutional Support for Participatory, Inclusive, and Responsive Education (INSPIRE) II Project in Swat, with CARE International. VTT was hired as service providers for the End of Project Evaluation. Within a very limited period of time, through a dedicated team of qualitative researchers we were able to assess the opportunities, challenges, and lessons learnt of the program. The experiences of young girls were astounding. Girls who couldn’t have dreamt of getting an education, were not only part of the Accelerated Learning Program, but were also being supported by the males of their families and communities to pursue further education. For me, the identification of such brilliant stories from the field were a clear indication of the change that holistic development interventions can bring about in the lives of the most vulnerable people. 

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