April 3, 2019
With a significant proportion of Pakistan’s children still out of school, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Agahi (ITA) is playing its part to invoke the state to fulfill its legal and diplomatic responsibilities as per Article 25-A and its obligation to the SDGs. ITA’s Right to Education (RTE) Campaign envisions provision of equitable, accessible, free and quality Education to all children according to Article 25A and SDG4.
As part of its campaign to spread awareness, the Right to Education team asked children to vocalize their concerns for Education and participate in a social media campaign by sharing videos. RTE’s team reached out to children from a diverse range of backgrounds and geographical areas. Whether they belonged to urban Lahore or the rural outskirts of Gujranwala, whether they could afford private school fees or not, one thing remained constant: this was their chance for a better tomorrow. Better for themselves, better for their families, and better for their nation. In their native languages, they spoke about the importance of Education as a need and a Fundamental Right of every child. These languages included Pashto, Sindhi, Arabic, English, and Urdu. Children took a stand for their right, sometimes dressed in traditional caps and frocks. Their enthusiasm further reverberated through the videos by their excited tones and gestures. The videos were shared on RTE’s Twitter and Facebook pages, and can be watched here.
While every child must be aware of his/her right to receive free Education, many children continue being deprived of it. In some areas, there are no schools, while in others there is lack of provision of quality education. In other areas financial or cultural constraints become a barrier. Boys are expected to earn for the family while girls bear much of the brunt owing to gender discrimination and child marriages.
To document this, another video delved deeper. Interacting with administration and students of a charity-based school, one could see how far these children have come. Children as young as those of second grade proudly read aloud sentences in English and Urdu and did simple mathematical calculations. The hopeful gleam shone in their eyes; during private discussions too, they had mentioned their previous occupation as child laborers. Little girls, usually daughters of daily wage laborers and maids, reflected on a tough life: much of their day was spent in assisting their mothers in cleaning the house and washing dishes and clothes. A 10-year old boy when asked why he thinks Education is important said, “So I can give back to Pakistan what this school has given to me.” This vlog can be viewed here.