Zaki Patel partners with TCF to open up 141 schools across Pakistan for each innocent life lost in Peshawar massacre. PHOTO: AFP
On December 16, 2014, Peshawar was struck by a heinous act of terrorism. One hundred and thirty-two children were massacred in cold blood, along with several others. The attack ignited a wave of outrage amongst civil society members who vowed to unite against the Taliban and those sympathetic towards them. Amidst this wave of emotion, Zaki Patel, an average Pakistani, decided to take a more concrete step and pledged to open up a school for each life lost and to bring education to areas that might not have access to it otherwise.
It was after Patel came across a tweet about how the best revenge would be to build 141 schools — one in the name of each survivor — that he decided to turn this noble thought into a reality. “There were a lot of people lashing out on social media, but no one was doing something [substantial about it],” says Patel. Without wasting any time, he created a webpage and requested people to come forward and transform their anger into something positive and constructive. “I had no idea there would be such a quick and overwhelming response to the idea. At most, I expected 200 people to sign up, but within three days we had 15,000 responses,” he adds.