Shimshal Trust

History of the Shimshal Trust

The Shimshal Trust was founded in 2002 by Matt Grant, Pam Henson, Tama Pugsley and Catharina Breukers, and set up as a charitable trust.

The Trust was set up to benefit the people of the village of Shimshal in the Northern Areas of Pakistan. In particular we wanted to help with educational and development projects, which would be jointly agreed with the village council.

Pam and her friend Lynette had spent five months in Shimshal in 2000, as volunteer teachers, at the request of villagers. The visit was organised by Murray Reedy, of Rubicon Tours, New Zealand.

Back in New Zealand, Pam raised money by giving slide shows and returned to Shimshal in 2002 with the other three Trust founders, taking books and sports gear for the schools, and craft equipment for the women.

In 2002-3, as a private group, we funded Hussn Bibi, a teacher from the village, to come to Wellington, New Zealand, for 11 months. Here she studied English at the Campbell Institute and passed her IELTS test with very good grades at the end of her stay. Although this was an expensive venture, everyone felt that as Hussn was the first Shimshal woman to travel or study overseas it was well worth while.


A series of discussions led the Trust to decide to fund projects that would be mainly educational and that would be self-sustaining. Specifically we decided to award scholarships to teachers and students from Shimshal to study in Pakistan.

In 2004/5, on the recommendation of the Shimshal Council, Didar Ali was awarded a full scholarship to study for a year. Didar had been a 'community teacher' for 8 or 9 years; he was unqualified and therefore paid at a very low rate.  18 months after his study, Didar gained a full time permanent position in the Diamond Jubilee School for Girls.

In 2005 the Trust awarded two major studentships to Amjad Karim, who went on to do a Master's degree, and Ghulam Mussa, who is now a regional economist for the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme.
The 2006 awards were still only a few, but two teachers studied with the help of our scholarships.  The 2007 and 2008 rounds were more successful in that we had good applications from quite a large number of students, and awarded 11 scholarships in 2007 and 14 in 2008. 

There has been some discussion about whether to award a large amount of money to a small number of students, or a small amount to a large number of students. We've received differing advice from Shimshali, so for the time being we are continuing to give smaller amounts to a larger number of students. In general we award $500 (rising to $600 in 2009) to students and $1000 (rising to $1200 in 2009) to teachers.

The Trust has raised money through automatic payments, slide shows, dinners, soliciting donations, selling greetings cards and artifacts, selling two books written by Pam, and applying to other organisations for funds. We received $5000 from the South Wairarapa Rotary (in 2001), a further  $2500 (in 2009), and $5000 from the Gareth Morgan family Trust (2008). 

The Shimshal Trust now has 7 members, some of whom are shown below. Back row: Matt Grant (with Harry), Liz Thomas and Jo Washbourn. Front row: Julie Brunton (with Abby), Kim Penny and Pam Henson. Missing from the photo is Tama Pugsley. Zainoor Penny took the photo.

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