Three days of fun and learning for children in katchi abadis

Volunteer-based community service promotes educational values in capital.


Express November 28, 2011

Volunteers from all over Islamabad gave three days of their lives to adding colour to the lives of children in katchi abadis. Five teams of students and CSR representatives from telecom companies were sent out into the eight schools of the Pehli Kiran school system from November 24 to 26, said a press release issued by JAQ Education Trust.

The “Hamara School scheme” which was the basis of the volunteerism attempted to create a child-friendly environment for a more enhanced learning experience. “We wanted the kids to take ownership of their schools, to bring in a sense of enthusiasm and school pride,” said Madeeha Ansari, lead coordinator of the activity. The infrastructure of the schools is quite simple, consisting of open-air sheds hidden away in urban slums and catering to children from mobile squatter communities.

“These were meant to be three days of fun for the volunteers as well as the children but were also designed for a lasting impact,” Ansari added. The activities were conducted in morning and evening shifts according to each school’s requirement, which cater to the needs of working children.

Day one was spent making canvases that the teachers will subsequently use as teaching aids while also acting as the schools’ walls. Day two served as a tribute to Iqbal and on poems not covered in the schools’ curriculum. Through stories and short performing arts-based activities, they were encouraged to dream big. On the last day, children were given poster paints and the freedom to be creative while making murals for their schools.

At the end of the experience, both students and volunteers made lasting friendships. In the words of one student volunteer from ICAS, “the games I’ve played and the things I’ve learned will always be a part of my memory. I hope I’ve been of some help to the community.”

Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2011.

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