Devoted and determinded, a husband-and-wife team has built a remarkable primary school in Naltar valley. Each year, Zahid and Shahnur Farooq spend nine months away from family and friends, just running the school. Shahnur, the de facto principal, teacher-trainer, class mentor and social motivator and psychological evaluator at Parha Likha Pakistan School.

Shahnur and Zahid (now retired from the Pakistan Air Force) run a state-of-the-art primary school for the children of the community living within a distance of 40 kilometres around Naltar Bala — a tiny settlement nestled in the middle of nowhere around the mountains north of Gilgit. In just three years of formal operation, the school has 300 children between the ages of four to 15 years lined up for morning assemblies, squatting on rush matting in two brick-built and tent classrooms, learning lessons and craft, or playing in the open.

The students are always found in the school despite the harsh weather, even reading under the open sky, or even with no facilities. Tents are set up for classes, open place for playing, cold streamby water and well trained teachers gives Zahid and Shahnur an agenda of making these children educated and the children are also highly motivated. The ambitious plan of Farooqs bring the children of valley to have concern with understanding and knowledge.


Karachi, August 20.