I came to Pakistan with the intention to contribute to its society and make an impact. As as American Pakistan Foundation Fellow at the National Rural Support Program (NRSP), I made my first visit to Hyderabad, Sindh. I visited six distinct villages in three NRSP districts which included: Tando Muhammad Khan, Mirpur Khas, and Tando Allah Yar. At these districts, we conducted research on SABAQ and the NRSP’s implementation method of SABAQ. SABAQ is a Digital Learning System designed to teach interactive stories and lessons to children who lack access to proper educational facilities. NRSP’s responsibility is to mobilize community members to open a learning center and implement SABAQ in their respective villages.
As I entered the first village of our trip, I was gifted with an ajrak, a traditional Sindhi cloth, chai, and biscuits. The community members greeted us kindly and warmly welcomed us into their homes. They expressed how grateful they are because their children are being educated. As their children sat in the learning centers from morning to afternoon, the parents felt hopeful that their children might not have to live in the impoverished conditions that they have. Every village we went to emphasized how important it is for the boys and the girls to be educated so they can reach their full potential and be successful. I was delighted to meet the children who hid behind chalkboards gripped in their little hands as I entered, but were quick to warm up to us, and ecstatic to share their knowledge of the English alphabet or the various folklore they had memorized.
As I visited each village, I realized that every community wanted to educate their children; however, they have been systematically oppressed and do not have the resources or means to send their children to schools. Still, NRSP and SABAQ have given the children in these rural communities access to education and hope for a brighter future. While travelling back to Islamabad after the field visits, I was reassured of the purpose I came to Pakistan with. I am here to advocate for the educational rights for impoverished children. No child should be denied the right to education because of their socioeconomic status. If the impoverished people of Pakistan are granted access to education, Pakistan will triumph.
Post by APF Fellow, Sawera Hussan
Sawera has currently or previously served as a Correspondent for the American Pakistan Foundation, the Outreach Intern for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Vice President of the Muslim Students Association, an Undergraduate Student Government Senator, the Chairwoman of the Student Development Committee on the Undergraduate Student Government, and the Program Coordinator for Salaam.