Most of us have seen children roaming around the roads and in streets, some of them begging and some playing without any tensed expressions on their faces because they are at such a young phase of their life that they cannot even realise that they are deprived of even the basic necessities of life. These are the children who are bound to skip their studies and sometimes also have to be the victims of child labour because of the irrecoverable poverty they and their family have been facing.
I often observed their longing gazes and used to ponder over the very thought that what they might have been thinking upon seeing other children going to schools, playing with toys, travelling in luxury cars and getting all the facilities that are only meant for rich children. Children who are of the same age as theirs but have complete different lifestyle because they were not born with side effects of poverty. Yes, most of the times you can blame them for being born 'poor' and this is what our society does today.
Though there are some people, who instead of feeling helpless becomes a spark of light in darkness which happens to be enough in order to make a difference. Such example is that of Slum School by Rohayl Varind, Pakistan's first solar night school located in Faisalabad. The school according to its founder is, “An attempt to educate children living in slums of Pakistan. It's an attempt to win war against poverty, illiteracy and terrorism.”
The school has been designed in a way to facilitate underprivileged children and up till now has produced more than 65 students. The underprivileged students who want to be educated are also provided with food, bags, books, clothes, sports items and stationary items. Teaching basic manners and etiquettes along with education is also part of the education.
Not only teaching, extra curricular activities are also part of the system. Different events like family day, sports day, ice cream parties, fruit parties, Eid celebrations, cash gifts day, and arts classes are also some of the prominent features of this school. Different activities are arranged for the attraction of the students where chocolates, biscuits, clothes and food are distributed among them.
“The main motive is to bring knowledge and basic level education to otherwise deprived children and adults, who would not be having even an inkling of or just meager knowledge or education otherwise,” says the founder.
The best part of this school is its solar lighting system which has been especially designed to educate those children who are involved in child labour and thus are unable to be there during daytime.
The strange thing about this school is that there is no permanent source of donation and the founder himself don’t takes cash donations from people but insists them (who want to contribute) to buy the material for school including whiteboards, markers etc. Rohayl even encourage those people to teach unprivileged children around them who otherwise cannot afford to acquire education.
Slum School by Rohayl Varind is also a huge contribution towards literacy in Pakistan. Ever-increasing poverty, a large population, learning disabilities, poor education system, lack of schools in rural areas, corruption and unemployment are the biggest causes of illiteracy in Pakistan. This effort in form of slum school is a starting point towards breaking barriers in education.
“There are unfortunately an estimated 250 million children in Asia alone who are either deprived of school or are drop outs,” he says. “As an educationist, my conscience would not be at peace unless I made a difference in these statistics and thereby the condition of the world brought on by it.”
Rohayl Varind is a young humanitarian whose motive is fighting a war against poverty, illiteracy and terrorism. Not just this, he is also the founder of Faisalabad’s “Wall of Humanity” which is a welfare source for poor people who get free food, books, clothes, ration and medical checkup & medicines from there every week.
In appreciation to his efforts, his story from Pakistan was also featured in Commonwealth Young Achievers 2015-16 along with 112 success stories from 41 countries in total. He also won “World Summit Youth Award 2014-2015” in Brazil out of around 2,000 submissions after impressing a panel of 40 jury members from all corners of the globe.
Apart from that, he is also the CEO of Times of Youth Magazine. He is also an RJ on FM 94.
Though a minor one, but Rohayl's Slum School is definitely playing the role of a contributing tool towards Pakistan’s literacy rate and the efforts against child labour.