By Uzma Bawany, Executive Director; Thaakat Foundation
The day started with a visit to our partner school, Campus 2. This campus is another half mile into the landfill and exists primarily so that nursery age children don’t need to walk so far. It is also easier to convince them to attend nearby. All students older than age 6 from here have shifted to our campus.
The poverty is unbelievable, I mean you can’t imagine the sight. In the heaps of burning garbage, there are homes made with sticks and well- garbage. In these shacks live dozens of family members and often there are kids covered in ash and flies covering their bodies. Their noses are running profusely due to the smoke and pollution they are inhaling. The children we found lingering in the landfill during the day refuse to sit in the classrooms.
Now the ones who do attend the school, it’s truly moving to see. They are different children all together. In fact some of them are graduates of the school and have returned to teach.
During lunch we shifted to our campus, Campus 3. Our school serves this same population as well as the very poor who live in shantys and homes starting at the entrance of the landfill. A majority of these students will work outside of the home to help provide income to the family.
Hayat lives in a home with over 20 family members. In this same home live several cows, donkeys, goats and chickens. After school he takes his donkey cart into town to collect old vegetables to feed his livestock.
Nabi Baksh is a quiet young boy who works hard for his family. After school he makes samosas with his mother and walks through the village with his brother until sunset selling them to any hungry passerby. One delicious samosa sells for just 5 rupees (5 cents).
Mohammed Naeem has dreams to be a doctor. A few years ago he was hit by a bike and lost his foot. He works at a small shop owned by his family of 17 people. He walks almost an hour each way to reach school over the hills.
My dad was in tears at the sight of all of the poverty and pulled out cash for handouts, in no time we had an army of people running for us. Though our students, they will never beg, in fact when we got them biscuits they didn’t look up at me until I tapped them on the shoulder, patiently waiting their turn. Handouts only go so far. An education takes you much farther.
This unincorporated area of Kachra Kundi has people from all over the country. Hindus, Muslims, Pashtuns, Sikhs, Baloch and everyone else you can think of. The best thing is our school brings them all together. No one is ever asked about their religious background when enrolling, it’s irrelevant.
The work we are doing without a doubt is providing these students with a life that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. Many of our studnets can’t wait to be doctors and teachers. Although we have made strides to help this community, our work is far from done.
Be a part of this journey and help this community thrive. Sponsor a child or make a general donation to this project.
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