Friday, June 13, 2014

BZU students’ pocket money bring children to school

Friday, June 13, 2014 - Multan—Over 100 children, mostly those having toughh days of labour, are now regular school goers at Basti Jakhar Pur for the last one year—thanks to a group of university students operating a ‘Stop Child Labour School System’ (SCLSS) from their pocket money in the city of saints. The gathering of exactly 114 children, 69 of them those who had either worked at tea stalls, Dahi Bhalla shops, tailors’ shops, brick kilns or others, spent a maiden joyful day at a recreational facility here Thursday in line with the international day against child labour.

The event was organized by Aoj Welfare Organization, Young Pakistanis Foundation and Multan Galaxy Leo Club.

Children were full of smiles and laughter as they enjoyed different kinds of modern swings but none of them knew the names of the recreational machines they were riding, said Muhammad Arsalan, a university student who conceived the idea of a school with modern facilities for working children and accomplished the task with the help from his class fellows and teachers.

Arsalan, who is doing BS Honours in Telecommunications Systems from Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU), decided to help child labourers when some poor women of Basti Jakhar Pur sought his help for their kids’ schooling.

“I shared my idea with my class fellows and teachers and found all of them ready to move forward.” Around fifteen students collected Rs 5000 from their pocket money and started a one-room school at Arsalan’s aunt’s home at Jakhar Pur. Earlier, university boys and girls had formed six teams and conducted 45-day long advocacy and survey campaign, however, the effort could attract only eleven child workers.

After spending two months at one-room school, they shifted to a rented building in Jan 2013 when worker children strength rose to 38. Around 32 university students pay Rs 500 donation per month while three teachers Rs 1000 each off and on to meet the operating expenses of the SCLSS which included monthly rent of building, electricity bill, books, stationery and other articles, Arsalan said. The school was now running under the umbrella of an NGO namely Aoj Welfare Organization which the university students had got registered recently. Extra curricular activities like sports, weekly Bazm-e-Adab, Milad Sharif are held at the school regularly

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