Our Story | Future Smart Inclusive School

Our Story blog - future smart inclusive school

Beginning of a Dream

One sunny day in Islamabad, that reminds me a lot of inspirational, coming-of-age, two-women-setting-out-to-change-the-world, larger-than-life movies, we (Arzoo and myself, your’s truly Noor) drew the initial mind map for Future Smart Inclusive School on a crumpled, coffee and lipstick-stained napkin. Well, except we weren’t characters in a movie and we didn’t use our coffee and lipstick-stained napkin to take notes. It’s the 21st Century, we used the Notes app on our smartphones.


The dream had already been born years before – with Arzoo’s small family, which included two boys with special needs. A simple dream had already evolved into an idea. But that afternoon, we transformed the idea into an actionable plan. Then, fuelled by passion, we put things into gear and set out right away to put our money where our mouths were (quite literally). I wish I could say that’s all and we set off into the sunset our hair flying in wind behind us, but our troubles and our joys were just beginning. But as Shakespeare once said, “All’s well that ends well” or in our case “all’s well that keeps going well”, we managed to put together the puzzle – one piece at a time.


Future Smart Inclusive School opened its doors in Islamabad in January 2021. The aim was to provide only the best services to children and also their parents. Following global best practices, we brought everything under one roof. The concept of our wholesome sanctuary was a little difficult for everyone to follow. But as weeks and months passed, we succeeded in presenting astonishing results. We’re incredibly proud to say that we not only succeeded in creating the oasis we had dreamed of but also a thriving community!


There is No ‘I’ in Team

Arzoo and I had been working women. But never – even in our wildest fantasies – had we ever imagined that we’d find ourselves in starring roles of entrepreneurs. And yet, we leaped off with faith and hopes of a better tomorrow. Today, sitting in our comfy little office, punctuated occasionally with a joyful hoot of one of our kids from the school down below, we feel that we’ve done a great job.


The “we” is not just Arzoo and Noor. It’s our entire team. Our squad is a reason of immense pride for us. On numerous occasions, I’ve read co-workers and teams being described as “well-oiled machinery”. In our workplace, we see our colleagues as human beings. So, no, we’re not greased cogs in a machine. When I think of our team, I imagine one of the highly coordinated rowing teams, in which the rowers move together in sync with each other as they speed towards the finish line. It’s something the rowers have learned and perfected over time, and we are mastering the syncing together bit too.


Right at the beginning, when we were listing down job titles, descriptions, and requirements, we noted down each role that we required: speech and language pathologists, psychologists, and behaviour management therapists, I remember Arzoo writing down and then underlining the word “empathetic”. As time went on, I realized that it wasn’t just one of those things that one reads in Harvard Business Review. We observed the the importance of this important-sounding word. We are incredibly proud when we say that our team is not only trained and qualified, but they are also kind and compassionate – something that we think is a key ingredient.

Core Values

Over the next few weeks, we researched, studied, adapted, fine-tuned, and typed several documents and notes. One of them was core values. It sounded too presumptuous and – I’m embarrassed to admit – snobbish. It was discarded. But then, as our school grew and we grew with it, the things that we held sacred revealed themselves gradually. We understood the importance of privacy, confidentiality, and transparency. But most of all we understood the importance of being honest: not in the way of “I was late because I woke up late, not because of a flat tyre”, but honesty towards one’s obligations and commitment. Whatever we committed to, we ensured that we delivered it. And that is something that we boast about quite a bit.


I’ve often felt that whatever we do is institution-wide. Whatever we teach the children, we make sure that we follow it within the school, top to bottom. When we teach children about respect, we actually demonstrate it to them, when we interact with each other daily. We practice everything as we believe that demonstration is the best way to help children learn and follow all these values.


Future Smart Kids Playing


The Greatest Reward


As our kids sometimes play outside in our small garden, I watch them from the balcony above. Although I don’t work with the children directly, I know all their names and to some extent their strengths too. Sometimes, I’ll hear a stray word or phrase being spoken by a child playing on the floor below. And then sentiments wash over me. The few of them that I can name are elation, awe, humility, and most of all pride. All of these because we get to witness tiny miracles happen every day.


Making up my mind about my greatest reward is a little difficult. Sometimes, it’s the feeling of contentment that comes from knowing what WE do has made someone’s life easier. Other times, it’s unlearning – letting go of things that I learned growing up and starting afresh. A few times, I’ve also been happy to learn new tricks to add to my “Entrepreneur Starter Kit”. I think, the Greatest Reward is a child scared to trust adults around him quietly slipping their hand in mine. It tells me they are willing to trust me.

Where to Find Us

Reader can connect with Future Smart Inclusive School through Facebook and Instagram. We also have a website, but social media is faster.

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