Four experiments down the road, Sami is now on his fifth. This time he is not doing it alone. He is aiming at something much larger and visible and he has put everything he has learnt in the last 12 years to work.
Fatima Jinnah Girls School, Nishtar Road, Karachi is home to an entire generation of women. 3000 girl students, 1200 of them in the primary section. From families who have no real incentive to keep their daughters at school because the education they receive does not lead to a brighter future. They hope that it does, that it may, but it won’t.
Taken one child at a time, it is a tragedy. 46,000 barren schools, it is yet another meaningless statistic, another hopeless cause.
But that is Sami’s point. Is it really? What can you do about it? No don’t wait for the next generation, fix the one in front of you. One child, one school at a time.
Take a government school and start with the mindset. No poor children do not deserve the education they receive! They deserve better.
To begin with, rather than a rundown building with stray dogs in the class rooms, it would be nice to have something that looks like a school. It would help if the teachers would receive some appreciation for what they do (a best teacher award) and a more sane work environment (better working hours, an organized and effective administration and more control). And do you know why art is not taught? Because art supplies and paper are expensive… So you shouldn’t have the pleasure to while away a morning drawing happy faces as a four year old just because you go to Fatima Jinnah Girls School, Nishtar Road, Karachi? Or should you?
And what about books, change all of the above and still work with broken materials? And labs? For English and computers and science… A library? Perhaps we have gone too far? The poor don’t need books, they need food and shelter and charity…
Why should my child go to a school with all of the above and the one on Nishtar Road shouldn’t? Are they really that different? Sami doesn’t think so…