In a swanky Minerva Court Apartment Compound, in the elite Clifton, Karachi area, what was once intended to be a parking space for an automobile is now a full-fledged learning, teaching and caring centre. The garage was transformed into its existing learning and teaching in November 1999.
It all began when a young girl Somia, eager to learn and change her destiny was denied admission in a vocational school just because she was not fortunate enough to read or write. Shabina Mustafa felt a deep urge to help this little girl, and hence the school in the garage was born.
Right away, her small, empty garage was transformed into a learning centre. Fortunately for Mrs. Mustafa, she found herself a great support structure. In fact, on the first day of school, there were over a dozen young and eager learners, joyfully clearing up the garage to set it up as a learning room. Most of them came from homes of domestic servants.
The Garage School basically caters to Shah Rasool and Neelam Colonies, two urban slums surrounding the upscale DHA and Clifton areas of Karachi.
In the beginning, when The Garage School was being operated from the original garage, there was no space for Shabina to promote the students. The students were moving in circles, from inside to outside the garage as they moved up the grades. In 2002, with the generosity of Mr. Abbas Vawda many of The Garage School’s students were sponsored to other mainstream schools.
With more children pouring in, it was imperative that The Garage School moved to bigger premises. Due to the pressure from the families, Shabina had no choice but to rent a three storeyed commercial building in 2006 in Neelam Colony, near to where these children reside.
2015 marked the opening of a teacher’s training institute under the umbrella of Safi Benevolent Trust named Safi Teacher’s Training Centre.
Due to lack of space, another mezzanine floor close to the existing building was rented to accommodate many eager students who came for admissions to The Garage School. And so TGS 3 (primary section) was opened in 2016.
Shabina is still looking for a bigger, better, custom built premises for the school which has a playground, a library, hostel for boys and girls, medical facility, a day-care centre for mothers and a community hall for the families to use for their different occasions.