Heart – Warming: Pakistan volunteers bring school to the street so that homeless kids can get an education!
A group of volunteers have come together and set up a school for street children under a busy flyover bridge in the strife ravaged city of Karachi, Pakistan.
The heart warming initiative is helping hundreds of street children get an education – in a country where literacy rates are dismal.
The makeshift school has been set up under a busy flyover bridge around a bustling and busy street.
“The idea was to give street children a shot at getting a school education. We chose the busy flyover bridge because this is where a lot of these street children work,” said Syeda Anfas Ali Shah Zaidi, whose NGO is helping the school.
“These kids don’t go to government run schools because they aren’t willing to get off the street and they are often working to support themselves. So we thought it was better to take the school to them.”
The ‘open-air’ runs with over 100 regular students which runs amid the constant honking of passing vehicles. The teachers say they run classes of 15-20 students each and teach elementary subjects such as english and maths.
The teachers, who are volunteers, also run individual classes for the students so that best ‘results’ are achieved.
Shahnaz Parveen, who is one of the volunteer teachers at the school is a former government lecturer.
“My own children were young so I gave up my government teaching job early. But now that my own kids have grown up and I miss teaching. So here I am doing the most satisfying job in the world,” she said.
Kids are allowed to learn at their own at the street school. Volunteers say their aim to help transform the lives of these ‘underprivileged’ kids by helping them with basic education.
“The larger aim is to counsel these children towards a better life. Street children are into crime and drugs and we want to keep them away from those evils,” said Zaidi.
Most of the children who come to street school work in the nearby market – most of them earning less than £1 a day.
“Some of kids even beg on the streets, while some come from the nearby slums,” said an NGO worker.
But despite the odds, the street school has been hailed as a great step.
“We provide bags, books and stationary to each of these kids. Apart from that we provide them with fruits and snacks with 50 rupees (40 pence) each day. Most of this happens thanks to donations,” said Zaidi.
“But I can see that these kids need more than just education. Many of them are homeless, so our long-term aims include hostels.”