Sparks is a registered Canadian non-profit organization. Its roots, however, stretch back to 1994, when it was established as a school-based community service club in Vancouver, British Columbia. The name ‘Sparks’ was inspired by a speech made by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1983:
“There are those who enter the world in such poverty that they are deprived of both the means and the motivation to improve their lot. Unless they can be touched with the spark which ignites the spirit of individual enterprise and determination, they will only sink back into renewed apathy, degradation and despair. It is for us, who are more fortunate, to provide that spark.”
-His Highness the Aga Khan
Over the years, Sparks has operated projects in a number of countries, with a recent focus primarily on Canada and Afghanistan. The flagship programs for Sparks are the Sparks Academies, a group of Early Childhood Development Centres, and the Sparks Scholars program, which provides education and service opportunities to high-potential young Afghan boys and girls.