- “What would you like to be when you’re older?” my uncle asked his young daughter Hafsa.
“Prime Minsiter of Pakistan, like Benazir Bhutto!” she replied with energy.
“I want to be president of Pakistan, and to support Hafsa when she is Prime Minister!” her younger brother added.
This is one of the rarest conversations one can witness in Pakistan. In many places, men are not like my cousin and uncle. I have seen many cases where they do not stand up for the dreams of the women in their family – or any women at all. These conversation take place because these kids have been lucky enough to be in school and their parents are literate.
I am from Balochistan, the state in Pakistan which continually receives the lowest educational ranking in the country According to the latest reports, f 66% of primary school aged children are out of school, and 72% of the out-of-school children are girls.
In Pakistan many people speak for taking children back to school, but it is not that easy. Provincial and federal governments have been piloting short-term projects and programs . The goal of these programs is to encourage communities to send kids to school. But, these programs are often unsuccessful because education is rarely a priority of policy makers. Without long-term solutions and elected officials who view education as a priority, Pakistan will continue to top the list of countries with the most out-of-school children. In fact, Pakistan currently falls second, just behind Nigeria for rates of out of school children.
Even more challenging than enrolling kids in school is the need to combat the barriers that keeping children from attending school and thriving to sustain their presence in the schools. These barriers – including poor infrastructure, violence, early marriage, gender discrimination and poverty – make it challenging for students to attend and remain in school.
Understanding, all these challenges in the country. There are still so many people who just don’t believe taking out-of- school children back to school is possible, but they also work hard at the grassroots for the cause, they believe with community’s meaningful participation it’s possible to help children to remain in school for longer time and become better citizens of the world.
One of such initiative is network of Ilmambassadors (Ambassadors of Education) spread throughout Pakistan under “Take a Child to School Program”(TACS) ILMPOSSIBLE, The program aims to re-enroll more than 130,000 out of school children and to supervise them for at least three years through community volunteers. It includes activities like provision of missing facilities, teachers’ training, community mobilization, monitoring of school performance, and using sports as tool for the retention of children.
Countries like Pakistan need more initiatives like long to ensure every kid goes to school, as we have seen when a child goes to school poverty, violence goes out of society.
I believe that communities in Pakistan need to make education mandatory for every child . Education is a powerful tool that can help Pakistan to overcome many challenges, including poverty, gender-based discriminations, violence, and economic crisis.