By Ayesha Habib | Pakistan
Karachi, home to about 16.1 million, a linguistically and religiously diverse city belonging to many different ethnicities and minorities. It is known as a top-ranking industrial and financial center, producing a large part of the economy's GDP. Karachi is also ranked as a beta-Global city, a city that is a primary node in the Global Economic Network.
Despite being an Economic Hub and Central Zone of the country, unfortunately, Karachi is facing inadequacy in the education sector.
In contrast to the developing cities of neighboring countries like Dhaka(Bangladesh), Khatmandu(Nepal), and Chennai(India）that have a literacy rate of 72.89%, 89.6%, and 93.7%, respectively.
Karachi is way behind in the statics of literacy that is only about 75%. Unfortunately, the streets of the city of lights are hosting about 30,000 street children out of 1.5 million total living in Pakistan due to various reasons, with very little or no excess to education.
REASONS FOR CHILDREN NOT ATTENDING THE SCHOOLS:
Financial problems faced by parents.
Unavailability of Educational Institute. in the nearby areas.
Transport difficulties faced by students or their parents.
Gender bias, that is, education is only for boys, not for girls.
Child Labour, a child needs to work in order to support his or her family financially.
Parents are not interested to invest in Children's education.
To provide access to proper and quality education is an absolute duty of the ruling government, but to play part in the spreading of education, to increase the literacy rate in the city, and provide quality education to street children, two young citizens of Karachi city have taken some self-initiative towards spreading education to street children.
Change is hard at first ,messy in the middle and gorgeous in the end. Robin Sharma.
"The Street School" was founded by two youngsters, a couple of years back, named Shireen and Hassan Zafar aged 12 and 15 respectively when they started. The purpose of their work was to educate children on the streets who don’t have the opportunity to join school and education due to different reasons. Starting from a non-profit organization to run the school on their expenses and the donations of family and friends, from children to elders seeking education in their roadside school who mostly appear to be the parents of these street children, The Street School has come a long way. It serves its purpose five days a week including Basic Education of Urdu, English, Mathematics to fun activities for the children, including the availability of transport to those who can't bear the expense of it, providing lunch and snacks to consider nutrition of the children and to increase their focus on the studies, adding to all this it's totally free of cost School. Today this school is running 3 branches on the streets of Karachi, setting tables and chairs for students and spreading the light of education, and welcoming the deserving seekers of knowledge. The brother-sister duo has received a lot of appreciation for their philanthropic work from the citizens around.
"Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, it is the only means.” - Albert Einstein
Taking influence from the above, there are some things that, as an individual, we can do for the cause of spreading education, after all, no contribution is too little to be offered.
Introduce more deserving children to such schools or education.
Offer volunteer teaching at such places or teach individually to at least a deserving child around you.
Social media campaigns or sharing such projects to raise donations.
Donating books and other school accessories to the project.
"The man who moves a mountain begins by carruing away small stones". Confucius, a Chinese philosopher.
To conclude, education is the birthright of all children and to spread education is truly a noble cause both religiously and worldly. Projects like The Street School are a shining beacon of hope, that a day will come when we Pakistanis will be able to achieve a much higher literacy rate for the City of Lights, Karachi, and overall for the motherland, Pakistan.