Militancy might have razed down school buildings in Swat, but it has not phased out the spirit of children that study in them.
Students of two government primary schools in Shin and Alam Ganj gathered together on Wednesday to participate in extracurricular activities, organised by the Sarhad Rural Support Programme and funded by the Department for International Development, UK.
Attended by both girls and boys students, the activities provided a break from the humdrum of everyday life. Students performed skits, read naats and national songs.
“We want such environment in our schools – it keeps us positive and healthy. We love studying and taking part in such activities,” said Anisha, a student of fourth grade, who held a postcard labelled “ilm noor hai” (knowledge is light).
Ikramullah, an orphan who studies in class five, said, “We had to quit our studies when the Taliban attacked and destroyed our schools. But later we resumed taking classes in tents and hope that soon our schools will be reconstructed so we can study in all kinds of weather.”
He received three awards at the ceremony. Beaming with joy, he added, “My mother will be very happy to see my prizes. She wants me to become an engineer.”
Habiba, a student sporting a postcard “jahalat khatam karo” (end ignorance) yelled from a distance, “We want to be educated like the girls from other parts of the country and will not accept anyone who stops us from it.”
The function picked momentum as all the students, teachers and parents raised slogans of “Pakistan zindabad” (long live Pakistan) and “taleem hamara haq hai” (education is our right).
The event provided much-needed recreation to the kids whose schools had been dilapidated or banned during the militancy era.
Anwar Hayat, a student of grade 5, who performed a skit highlighting the importance of education, summed up the spirit of people at the event, “I love my country. This is our brave and beautiful land and we will always fight for it.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2011.
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