Today we visited two schools. One, a normal school, was made for girls and had a strict regime they stuck to with precision. The second, a school set up for children to deter them from succumbing to child labour, was, for me, the more interesting one.
With no funding, the school is set up and run with money from a few of the teachers there. They were being educated in the basics of English, maths, etc. The school is run during the afternoons, so they can still continue their morning work, yet be educated in the evening.
The work of the founders was extremely inspirational for me. I had always thought that to make a change within society, it needs to affect the masses. Seeing the school showed me 30 students' lives that have been dramatically changed, and for me that is reason enough for something to be praised and attempted.
What the day showed me revolved around the idea of how I could make a difference. While I need to assess the exact methods I’ll use to spread the beautiful message of Pakistan, I know that even if it results in one person’s opinion being changed, that is a change to be admired.
And how do you perceive children in Pakistan?
EDIC – the Educational Development of Inconsidered Children is an amazing and heart warming project run by the Active Citizens group in Mirpur whose aim is to give an education to children who are in poverty (street children), and those who have to provide for their families at such a young age.
These children have aspirations, dreams and a right to get an education. The EDIC project started off with one boy who was found on the streets and was given an education. That’s where it all began. From educating one child to now having space and funding for 30 children is a moment to celebrate for the Active Citizens due to how much they have achieved within the space of one year.
These children have dreams to become either police officers, doctors, nurses or even army officers. Who am I to take this away from them? In fact who are we to think that children don’t have hope, dreams or even aspirations to become somebody in their bright future?
The children had their own unique way of thanking and illustrating a sense of appreciation for our visit by saying shhhhhh! Clap! We then all did it together and the faces of joy, the laughter and happiness in these children’s eyes emotionally was too much for me as I started to get tearful and left the room.
The energy and joyfulness within the room was remarkable and unforgettable and I will never forget that moment.
EDIC paves the way for children in Mirpur!
This has inspired me to engage with the younger generation of the UK with my experiences I’ve taken and learnt from Pakistan, and hope that one day these children share the same passion as the kids in Mirpur!
Today we spent the day with the Active Citizens group, who are a group of young people that try to help their community by offering to volunteer where it’s needed, such as setting up projects to help improve conditions and helping the less fortunate.
The first stop was at a girls’ primary school where the Active Citizens are educating teachers that have been teaching for a while now in new techniques so that this Government school can be at the same level as a private institute, giving communities a balance so when the students do go out to look for jobs they won’t be sent away because their education wasn’t as good as private education would be.
Our second stop was at the EDIC (Educational Development for Inconsidered Children) where they would take children from the streets to give them an education which is funded by the volunteers themselves, taking the children away from work labour.
I found this part of the day to be quite inspirational; it was amazing the difference that these volunteers make on these young children’s lives.
Volunteering - teaching and taking kids off the street to give them a better future in return - they feel like they’ve made a change for the better for their community.
Today we went to visit two projects in Mirpur. It’s good to see other young people trying to make a positive influence in their own community. It makes me want to get home and implement all of the ideas and thoughts that I've produced on the trip.
First we went to a girls’ school where we were shown how a new and more effective style of teaching had been implemented which was fun to see. Then we went to a second school but this time it was set up for child labourers so they could get a free education instead of working for 12+ hours a day. It was emotional being there but in a good way; the children were so happy and enthusiastic to learn and it put a massive smile on my face!
That has definitely inspired me for when I get back to Manchester! Can't wait to get into my old school and get things moving :D
How can I make a difference?
In this episode, the team work with some young Pakistanis to see how anyone can make a difference to their community. They are members of the Active Citizens programme, run by the British Council.
We follow some of them to see how their drive and hard work is making a difference. Faiz is tackling the issue of child labour, and providing basic free education to street children and refugees of Mirpur.
What responsibility do young people have to try to make a difference and what will the team take away from this experience?