It all begun in different capacities through different personal journeys that all foregather in 2014 to create RETO Foundation. RETO is a spanish word that means “challenge”.
RETO stands for Reach, Engage and Transform the Outreach. There is no fixed agenda in the meaning, but RETO aims to make opportunities more visible for everyone through the platform of education.
We at RETO have boldly taken up this challenge and aspire to deliver opportunities in every aspect of life by providing and improving education. RETO’s special weapons are technology and innovation. We at RETO believe that technology and innovation are the best cost and time effective tools to reach, engage and transform the outreach to every other soul out there.
A diverse team unified by a Common Goal
The seeds of RETO were initially sown many years back in different capacities through different modes by different lives. And this is something that makes RETO a diverse, amazing and memorable journey for its beneficiaries, participants and members.
Having spent early years in Tando Jam followed by an undergraduate at LUMS, Shahzad was deeply impacted by witnessing the socio-economic stratification and unequal access to opportunities for youth in Pakistan, To him the primary motivation was to become a source of guidance for his community members that can with his assistance access academic and employment opportunities accessible to urban Pakistan. In December 2010, a Career Opportunity Awareness Program (COAP) was launched with invaluable support from friends at LUMS, that acted as an instant guide for Tando Jam youth. The positive outcome of this initiative encouraged Shahzad to commit his vacations for the purpose of teaching active students in Tando Jam and prepare them for university entrance examinations. In May, 2013 these interventions were formally operationalized under a new setup called Shades, a student run body. Since then, students at ShADES have been able to transform Tando Jam in their own amazing ways. It is envisioned that this student body of committed native youth of over 120 members will become the main executive force for the functionality of RETO programs.
Jaffar Mujataba, humanities graduate from LUMS has been trying to understand and address this issue of inequality in education through literature, his writings and as a volunteer with different organizations. On the other side, Kashif Ali, a budding policy analyst from LUMS believes that organizations have to curb poor policies that impede welfare and development.
On the far side, Research, Entrepreneurship and Technology are the buzz words in Pakistan. Nabeel Muhammad and Ajay Pinjani have been trying to transform education in their own entrepreneurial ways. Nabeel holds the belief that we need the spark of entrepreneurial thinking to make education more interesting and sustainable. He initiated Stock Simulation and Model Economy Case Study Competitions for students at LUMS in 2012. In 2013, Nabeel launched Project Lobby, a project based education company, with his friend, Syed Mohsin. Ajay Pinjani, a philosopher and educator at heart from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India, wants to see that every child should have the ability to think creatively. Ajay has been working on curriculum that is specifically targeted to cater to the needs of “creative thinking” among students in Pakistan.
In 2014, all these personal journeys came together to create one big mission, RETO Foundation.