In a landmark win at the UAE's COP28 conference, a school in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, managed by the Kashmir Orphan Relief Trust (KORT), secured the prestigious Zayed Sustainability Prize of $100,000. Recognized for its pioneering work in water conservation and organic farming, the school emerged as the top Global School in South Asia, surpassing finalists from India and Bangladesh.
Operated by KORT, the school's exceptional project was lauded at the UN climate conference in Dubai, where young representatives of the trust were honored by UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed. The Zayed Sustainability Prize, honoring the legacy of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, acknowledges entities addressing health, food, energy, water, and climate-related challenges.
Sumaiya Bibi, 19, a representative of KORT who tragically lost her parents in the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, highlighted the imminent water crisis in Pakistan. Their project aims to install water filtration plants, sensor taps, and an organic kitchen garden within the school premises to mitigate water wastage and offer nutrition through organically grown food.
Established in 2016 to support children orphaned by the devastating earthquake, KORT School and College of Excellence in Azad Kashmir caters to over 500 students. Additionally, KORT recently opened another school in Swabi, accommodating 450 children, continuing its mission of providing education, shelter, and care to orphaned children.
Kinza Bibi, another 19-year-old student representing KORT, emphasized the importance of teaching children about preserving clean water. Chaudhry Mohammed Akhtar, the founding chairman of KORT, stated that the prize money would fund initiatives related to clean water and organic farming in rural areas.
This year's Zayed Sustainability Prize recognized 11 winners across diverse categories, awarding a total of $3.6 million for their innovative solutions aimed at transforming lives and driving environmental change on a global scale.