As many as 150 schoolchildren from various institutes run by non-government organisations (NGOs) participated in the Bridging Barriers Olympiad 2016 on Sunday at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS).
The event was organised by LUMS Community Service Society (LCSS) and Dramaline in collaboration with Global Shapers. The event hosted students from The Citizens’ Foundation (TCF) School, Ghazali Education Trust School, Care Foundation School, Progressive Education Network (PEN) and Rabtt school.
Talking to The Express Tribune, Ayesha Ahmed, one of the organisers, said volunteers from the LUMS had trained children for six months.
She said the Bridging Barriers initiative aimed at providing opportunities for underprivileged students. She said the volunteers had coached children in public speaking, general knowledge, Pakistan’s history and culture, French and dramatics.
She said a standardised curriculum was taught to children from all five schools.
Ayesha said the annual event featured a debate contest, an arts and crafts competition, four games competitions, a drama contest and a brain quest competition.
She said the children could choose their categories according to their interests.
Shaheer Kamran, a volunteer from the LUMS, said the purpose of the competition and the training was to provide a new learning platform for the children.
He said, “This effort hopes to inculcate teamwork, collaboration and confidence.”
He said nearly 60 volunteers had participated in the Olympiad.
“The concept behind it is learning while playing,” he added.
Hira Babar from Global Shapers said that her organisation was part of the World Economic Forum and their objective was to contribute towards attaining the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs). She said that a 17-member team from her organisation had taken part in the training of the children and for organising the event.
Hiba Ashraf, a student from Santnagar School, said that she had enjoyed the competition and made new friends at the Olympiad. She said, “I learnt collaboration, learning and how to help my friends.”
During the opening ceremony, students were introduced to the purpose of Bridging Barriers. Schoolchildren were given a tour of the campus and a short video was also shown.
A parliamentary style bi-lingual debate was held in which students debated on freedom of speech as a fundamental right.
Juggan Kazim was the chief guest of the event, which ended in the evening with a prize distribution ceremony. Ghazali Education Trust School won the team trophy, while Santnagar School was declared the runner-up.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 29th, 2016.