The second school I visted was in Risalewala. This small village is close to the main city Faisalabad, and only four miles away from Faisalabad International airport. This was also the first school that LWCO established in this community almost 6 years ago. It is considered one of the success story in this community.
There is no public school in the village where children can go with out assistance of their parents. Near by schools are in other villages. I saw academy boards but they charge hefty fees that discourage many parents. Currently, three volunteer teachers cater the needs of 60 students that get education from prep to grade 6.
The head volunteer teacher, Shumaila Sajid told me that she is part of the schools for past six years. In the beginning she went from house to house to convince parents to send their daughters to school to learn to read and write. She said “it was hard for her to watch these girls to go to city and work as maids to clean other people’s houses”. She wanted to change the situation and LWCO helped her to do so. She was very proud that her trained girls are getting suitable matches much easier because they learned the skill of sewing and embriodery.
Currently there are 50 adult women who are coming to learn different skills. This school was hub of community activity and all women were excited to see me and tell their stories. It made me realize that how hard is life of women in Pakistan and how these women are making their mark in this community even though they are dealing with domestic issues of their own. This school act as a refuge for them.
Story of one student Saba was heart warming. I asked her about her father’s occupation. She told me ” She is head of her household as her father is hardly there due to drug abuse issues”. Most of the students who come to this school have either lost mother or father and some have lost both.
Upon open discussion on the problems and issues of school, and how we can make situation better, their unanimous voice was that they need bigger place to accomodate more students. Currently they are paying rent of Rs 4000.0 for two rooms. The other request was to develop stronger merchandize line of cards in USA, so it becomes possible for them to open other schools and help other communities.
Do we have any such example of selfless behavior in USA? These women are working hard and they need our assistance in the form of volunteer time that could be used to spread their message. Would you give us your time?