The programme looks to use the power of sport to enrich the lives of tens of millions of children‚ young people and grown-ups‚ too‚ of all abilities in schools and communities across the world‚ particularly in developing countries‚ by offering them the opportunity to access and participate in high-quality and inclusive sport‚ physical education and play.
"There are young as well as older people [who have been] selected as torch-bearers through the programme and I'm the only one from Pakistan‚" teenaged Zainab‚ who will be flying off to Nottingham on Sunday‚ excitedly told in an interview. "The oldest person selected as torch-bearer through the programme is a 53-year-old‚" she added."I want the world to know that my country is not only about what is being portrayed by the world media‚" said Zainab. She expressed her discontent with the promotion of only negative aspects of Pakistani society‚ and claimed that she would use this platform to promote the brighter and positive aspects of the country. She also expressed her gratitude for the support she received from her parents and teachers to pursue her dreams. "Such moments come rarely in a lifetime when you have been selected among millions to represent your country‚" Zainab's mother Amna Imran claimed. "She has got a flair for sports but it is not that she was naturally talented at it. She received the encouragement and support to pursue her dream‚ which parents in our society normally would not give‚" her mother reiterated.
Fahd Shafiq‚ project manager at the British Council Pakistan for the International Inspiration programme‚ termed the event as "inspirational" for the youth who took part in it‚ as well as those who did not. He said that though this programme was launched globally in 2007‚ it was initiated in Pakistan by the British Council and other partners in March 2010.
Each International Inspiration torch-bearer was selected either for their dedication and commitment to inspire children and young people in their communities through the power of sport or for the personal challenges they have overcome in their lives.
Zainab‚ who was nominated by the Nasra Trust School after she demonstrated strong leadership qualities‚ is also a member of the Young Leader of International Inspiration Club. She has taken Young Sport Leadership training and is also very active to cascade this training in her local community.
The spirited all-rounder enjoys playing netball for her school team. She has also done volunteer work as coordinator for the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT)‚ she said. "Then I regularly take part in Dawn's Spelling Bee competitions‚ although I've yet to win it‚" she chuckled. "But I got a position in the Pak-Turk Math Olympiad. I was 20th‚" she said with pride.
About her selection‚ the young leader informed that she had to go through an entire process. "My school‚ as you may know‚ is one of British Council's partner schools also taking part in the International Inspiration programme. So we‚ the students of Nasra Trust School‚ were given questionnaires to fill out. From there I was shortlisted for interviews‚ and I guess my interview must have gone pretty well because I got selected‚" she remarked. The school partnerships are managed by the British Council‚ which has extensive experience of linking schools internationally‚ working in partnership with the Youth Sport Trust‚ which utilises its expertise in developing teachers and young leaders through sport.