First Lady Samina Arif Alvi on Friday said children are the future of the country and ensuring for them free-of-charge education is vital to eradicate child labour. "Giving the children free education can secure their future and help them move forward in challenging times," she said in her address at the distribution ceremony of educational kits among students of the Pakistan Bait-ul-Maal School for Rehabilitation of Child Labour.
The wife of the President of Pakistan said every child had the right to live his childhood to the fullest and have access to school education. "Instead of toys, if these innocent hands are forced to have tools, the situation will speak about the apathy of society towards its children," she said.
To end child labour, she said, all segments of society needed to play their role in educating the children and make sure that no child in the country felt deprived.
"It is my dream that every child in Pakistan grows up educated and no one should be left behind due to lack of funds," she said. The First Lady lauded the Pakistan Bait-ul-Mal for taking effective measures to eradicate child labour and providing children free education up to the primary level at 159 centres across the country.
She said the government is providing free books, uniforms, stationery and daily Rs10 to every child, Rs300 per month to their parents and Rs4,100 on completion of their classes.
"This is in line with this government's mission to give every citizen and every child their right to education," she added. She said the government is taking steps to develop weaker sections and lift them out of poverty by providing them social security under the umbrella of the Ehsaas programme.
Mrs Alvi appreciated the diplomatic community in Pakistan for joining the endeavour to eradicate child labour and arranging gifts for 240 children.
She also mentioned her initiative of supporting the cause of persons with disabilities and urged the people to join the journey of giving them basics rights. Pakistan Bait-ul-Maal Managing Director Zaheer Abbas Khokhar briefed her about the working of the PBM and said the organisation was focused on pursuing the vision of uplift of weaker segments.
He said children between the age of five and 14 years were weaned away from hazardous labour and were being provided free education, clothing, footwear and stipend at PBM centres.
The wife of the Turkish Ambassador to Pakistan, Zlatomira Yurdakul, on the occasion appreciated the initiatives of the Pakistan Bait-ul-Maal for eradicating child labour.
The wives of ambassadors of Indonesia, Malaysia and Bangladesh also attended the event. Later, Samina Alvi handed over educational kits to teachers for distribution among students.
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