ISLAMABAD: Sunday proved to be a fun-filled retreat for Master Ayub’s students. About 60 underprivileged students sat under an open sky on straw mats and painted their hearts out on plain white t-shirts. From themes like the Pakistani flag to flowers and rainbows, each child painted for a cause.
This year, Boston University (BU) asked its alumni to come up with projects that would help bring a social change. Kiran Arif, a BU alumni, proposed to help raise funds to build a school for children of the slums, who are currently studying in an open ground in F-6.
After the university agreed to finance the project, Arif formed an NGO “Revolutionists” to take it forward. She told The Express Tribune that this was the first event of its kind and the NGO planned to reach other cities.
To help assist with the activity, some 30 young volunteers came forward. Clad in pink BU t-shirts and other clothes touting change, they seemed glad to be contributing to the cause.
Zeeshan Tahir, a volunteer said, “It gives these children an opportunity. Some children are holding a paintbrush for the first time in their lives.”
Ansar Nadeem, a first grader, was painting for the second time in his life. He said he was proud of his work and knew his t-shirt would sell.
Arif explained that she had made an event on Facebook to spread the message across and was overwhelmed to see the response. “Some of them are my friends; others are volunteers who wanted to spend their Sunday helping out these underprivileged children,” said Arif.
Later, children snacked on chips and juice and then performed small skits on drug control, cleanliness and one on Master Ayub’s work. “The children did this entirely one their own, from the concept to the act in just three days,” said Ayub.
Ayub has been tutoring such children free-of-charge for the past 27 years. He said that the event will help raise money for them to move to a proper building.
The t-shirts will become part of a charity exhibit to be arranged within the next two weeks in the capital, said Arif. She added that they are aiming to sell the t-shirts for Rs1,000 each and hope to raise about Rs100,000, which will be donated to Ayub’s school.
“The roofless school will soon have a roof,” said Arif with a twinkle in her eyes.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 16th, 2012.