FAISALABAD: Slum School is an attempt to educate children living in slums of Pakistan. We believe education is a vaccine for violence, terrorism & poverty. Pakistan is a country plagued by issues like poverty, corruption, and, the biggest of all, illiteracy. With an overall literacy rate of 56.6% (According to data available from UNESCO in 2015), Pakistan is found in the lower ranks of the list of countries according to their literacy rates. There are a number of factors that contribute to the lack of literacy rate in Pakistan and will continue to do so for quite some time— one of the biggest being the 24 million or so children that have never been to school. One of these lone social warriors, Rohayl Varind, won the World Summit Youth Award in Sao Paulo, Brazil for his project Voice of R in 2014/2015. Not only that, but he is also the youth behind the famed “Wall of Humanity”. The Wall of Humanity, a simple wall transformed into a welfare center It was started by Rohayl in Faisalabad and quickly spread all over Pakistan and even across the border. Now, the young humanitarian is back with another project — a Slum School.
“There are unfortunately an estimated 250 million children in Asia alone who are either deprived of school or are drop outs,” says Rohayl Varind.
“As an educationist, my conscience would not be at peace unless I made a difference in these statistics and thereby the condition of the world brought on by it.” Slum School is a system of education designed for the deserving yet underprivileged students. Since its inauguration in 2016, it is teaching more than 42 students with free provisions of food, bags, books, clothes, sports items and stationary in the slum of Faisalabad. The school not only teaches the basics to children from underprivileged backgrounds but also teaches them basic ethics and etiquette. There are also some other engaging activities. From Yoga classes to Family Days, Sports Days, Arts Classes etc the school has tried to keep the students interested. There are also distribution ceremonies where students are given chocolates, biscuits, clothes, food and other gifts.
The classes take place outdoors with just a whiteboard for the teacher to write on and a piece of cloth for the students to sit and learn. Rohayl has taken it upon himself to go to the school for at least two hours on a daily basis. The quality of education at the Slum School is in no way enough to negate the need for a formal education, but the effort alone is commendable. Rohayl Varind also argues that “the main motive is to bring knowledge and basic level education to otherwise deprived children and adults, who would not be having even an inkling of or just meager knowledge or education otherwise”. Slum School has also been featured by numerous Pakistani news outlets, including ARY News, 7 News, City 41, Abb Takk News, ARY News Blogs, Daily Pakistan, FM 103, BOL News, FM 94, Metro One News etc. Now, Rohayl Varind hopes to spread this concept further around the country and encourage other people to take part as well. When asked about how he supports his venture and how should people contact him if they want to contribute, he said that there are no permanent donors. Moreover, he doesn’t take cash donations from anyone and would prefer if people buy a board and a market themselves and start teaching unprivileged kids around them, like their maids, the security guards, their children, and so on.
The writer is a President at Youth General Assembly. He can be reached at [email protected]