Scavengers, street vendors and vagabonds - all in the same classroom

19-year-old student opens tuition centre to help these children change for the better.

Rizwan Shehzad June 16, 2013
Around 30 children gather in a ten-by-ten room to take tutions at the ‘Possibilites School’, opened by 19-year-old Sohail Khan. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI: There is a classroom in Karachi where scavengers, street vendors and vagabonds are no longer dirty, loud or rude.

In Quaidabad’s Kashmiri Muhalla, nearly 30 of these children gather in a ten-by-ten room to take tuitions and pursue their dreams. True to its name, the ‘Possibilities School’ offers the children an opportunity to change the course of their lives.

“Earlier, everyone in the area used to complain about the social behaviours of these kids,” pointed out 19-year-old Sohail Khan, the brainchild behind the school. “Now, a year later, the same people admire the changes in these children.” Khan, who sports a light beard is a student of Intermediate second year and is determined to educate this less-privileged chunk of the society.

His passion for change is shared by his students, who admit that they were attracted by the possibilities of making friends with books, wearing school uniforms and looking smart. “I want a bag full of books, a proper uniform with a shirt and pants, and sweets,” chipped in four-year-old Usman.

The students were visibly uncomfortable about revealing what they do for a living, so they would answer for their classmate who was being questioned. They did break into smiles when they shared their plans for the future.

“I want to become a sir [teacher],” said 12-year-old Muhammad Arshad. “I will only teach children.” Arshad, a student of grade five, admitted later on that he will have to quit school soon because his parents can’t afford his fee anymore. It’s Rs600, he exclaimed.

Meanwhile, there are some boys in the class who have picked on a thing or two from the deteriorating law and order situation in the neighbourhood. “I want to go in the army and have a gun,” claimed five-year-old Imran Khan.

Some of his classmates were keeping their plans more realistic. “I don’t want to be anything but a driver,” said 16-year-old Shahzeb Khan, the eldest among six siblings - all of whom are regulars at the tuition centre. Khan works at a textile mill and had always wanted to drive his own car. When he learned that success was only possible through education, he joined the tuition centre and is working towards achieving his dream.

Collecting funds

Khan has managed to get together a bunch of students to teach but he has yet to arrange enough books for them to read and copies for them to write on. Many of them [students] share books that too have been donated by the Korangi Academy, where Khan is enrolled as a student. “I couldn’t and still can’t buy a second-hand white board,” he regretted Khan. “The last board that I had my eyes on was being sold for Rs1,000.”

The young student said his religion drove him to feel the pain of the poor and downtrodden. “Sometimes I become tired and fed up but the thought that someone would be transformed through these small efforts makes me go the extra mile.”

At his tiny tuition centre hidden within the streets of Quaidabad, Khan hopes to inspire these children into leaving their ways. “I try to motivate them so that they are not dependent on others.”

For further information, please contact Sohail Khan at 0333-290-3015 or [email protected]

Published in The Express Tribune, June 17th, 2013.


Rani | 9 years ago | Reply

u are doing great job....! outstanding man..May Allah give u more success :) Thumbs uppppppp Sohail :)

Rani | 9 years ago | Reply

**u have a done a great job...! marvelloussssssssss....out standing mannnnn :))))))) thumbs uppppppppp sohail :)))

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