KARACHI: The Right to Play initiative gathered nearly 140 young boys and girls along with 60 children to celebrate diversity on Thursday.
“It is a day of happiness for me as a platform has been provided for our children and youth to come forward and bridge differences in our society,” said Mumtaz Umar, a professor at Government Degree College in Korangi No. 6, who is also a social worker and a poet. “Now it is up to our children and youth to learn from the opportunities provided by Right To Play and pave way for a better and healthy future.”
Umar was the chief guest at the Cultural Day for Dialogue and Development 2013 taking place as a thematic play day. The purpose of celebrating this theme as a play day was to provide an opportunity for the children of government schools of the area, teachers and community members to gather at a common platform and discuss cultural diversity and peace in the country, explained the organisation in a statement.
Apart from a large number of youth and children, 17 trainers from Right To Play and Karachi Youth Initiative project attended the activities along with 15 community members and three headmasters, headmistresses and teachers of partner schools.
The event commenced with the recitation of the Holy Quran followed by an insight into Right To Play’s programme in Pakistan by the trainers. Keeping in mind the essence of Ramazan, the first activity of the day was a naat competition. This was followed by an activity, called an energiser, in which the participants danced to various tunes.
Right to Play organised a cultural day to celebrate diversity in Korangi on Thursday. They gathered nearly 140 young men and women and a group of children to engage in various exercises on teamwork, respect and brotherhood. PHOTO: ATHAR KHAN/EXPRESS
With energy levels going strong among the participants, a group of them took part in a motivational speech competition. Hiba, a junior leader of Right To Play from Government Girls Secondary School Nasir Colony in Korangi No. 1, spoke poignantly for a peaceful Pakistan where people could breathe and live freely. Amid huge rounds of applause, the event moved forward with the trainers, the youth of the community and Right To Play project supervisor performing a role play ‘I am not alone’ , which underlined the importance of teamwork, respect and brotherhood.
Ratan Salem, the provincial programme coordinator of Right To Play in Sindh, thanked the children, the youth and the community members for making the programme a success. “At Right To Play, we aim to bring happiness in children’s lives and work mainly across the globe in 22 countries, which are mostly disadvantaged,” she said. In Pakistan, Right to Play has worked in Khyber-Pakhtunkwa to reach out to the children who suffered gravely from the 2005 earthquake. “In Sindh, we have collaborated with Unicef and are working in five districts affected by the floods where our focus has been on children’s holistic development.”
Right to Play’s recent project, which is designed specifically for Karachi, aims to promote peace and bridge conflicts between various cultures. “We believe that children should receive an opportunity to play healthy games and not take up guns at such a young age to move in a specific direction,” said Salem. “Rather, they should grow up as responsible citizens of the country with respect and love in their hearts for all fellow brethren.”
Thursday’s event, for Salem, was a first step towards a bigger process of working with communities in harmony and living in co-existence.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2013.
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