Makeshift school gives second chance to Peshawar slum children

Ayesha, 10, used to beg but now, after school, she sells flowers on the roads of Peshawar. Photo taken on Jan. 14, 2020. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)
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Updated 18 January 2020

Makeshift school gives second chance to Peshawar slum children

  • 273 children are registered at Dosti’s eight mobile schools in Peshawar
  • The organization also offers business assistance to parents

PESHAWAR: “When I don’t want to go to the workshop, I sometimes go begging,” says 11-year-old Shahid, who works at a car repair shop in Peshawar. He must earn to support his parents and could not come to school. But everything changed last year when school came to him.




Ayesha leaves her home in a slum area of Peshawar to attend Dosti's mobile school class on Jan. 14, 2020. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

“Life is hard for me, but this school has changed it. Now I am able to write my name in English and in Urdu!” the boy told Arab News.




Eleven-year-old Shahid supports his family by working at a car repair shop. Photo taken on Jan. 14, 2020. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

The school is run by Dosti, a welfare organization funded in 1996 by Dr. Munir Ahmad, which last year launched a mobile school initiative to reach children like Shahid in the slum areas of Peshawar, who otherwise would be left without any access to education.




A mobile school van with teaching materials and teachers arrives for classes in the slum areas of Peshawar on Jan. 14, 2020. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

Dosti teachers arrive in a van and on motorbikes, bringing teaching materials and equipment. Currently, 273 children are registered at Dosti’s eight makeshift schools and more than half of them attend classes regularly.

The initiative has received significant support from university students, and nearly 2,400 of them volunteer for the program as teachers. Local authorities have also signed an agreement with Dosti to expand its reach.




Peshawar University students volunteer to teach children at one of the eight mobile schools run in the city. Photo taken on Jan. 14, 2020. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

To break the cycle of poverty and prevent its pupils from dropping out, the organization has also introduced a small business assistance program to the children’s parents.




Students are waiting for their class to start. Photo taken on Jan. 14, 2020. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

“I love this school,” says 10-year-old Ayesha, who sells flowers on the city’s roads.

“I love animals and the school teacher has taught me their names and showed their pictures. When I came to this school one year ago, I didn’t even know how to hold a pencil, but now I can do wonders.”




A boy is learning to spell his name in English at Dosti mobile school class on Jan. 14, 2020. (AN photo by Saba Rehman)

 


Pakistan to observe ‘Day of Prayer’ every Friday to seek mercy against COVID-19

Updated 04 December 2020

Pakistan to observe ‘Day of Prayer’ every Friday to seek mercy against COVID-19

  • Ulema assure President Alvi mosque administrations will ensure social distancing during congregational prayers
  • Alvi says mosques and media have important role in raising awareness about COVID-19 health guidelines

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani president Dr. Arif Alvi has said starting December 4, ‘Youm-e-Dua,’ or day of prayer, would be observed every Friday to seek god’s mercy to protect people against the novel coronavirus.
He announced this after a delegation of ulema met him at the president house on Thursday, saying a 20-point Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) plan announced in April needed to be implemented to overcome a second wave of the coronavirus currently sweeping through Pakistan.
“The President mentioned that ulema had assured that the mosque administrations would ensure the proper safe-distancing during congregational prayers,” state news agency APP said. “The SOPs regarding mosques included proper distance among worshippers, disinfecting carpets and floors, ablution at homes before coming to mosques and bringing own prayer rugs.”
Alvi said mosques and the media had an important role to play in raising awareness about the importance of COVID-19 SOPs.
Government data released on Friday showed Pakistan had recorded 55 COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours, as the nationwide tally of fatalities jumped to 8,260 and infections reached 410,072.
After a peak of over 6,800 daily infections in June, the number fell to a low of 213 in August, and remained below 700 for most of the last three months. But there has been a sharp rise in new cases since last month.
Earlier this month, the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan ruled out a complete lockdown and decided to continue the “smart lockdown” policy with strict implementation of safety guidelines.
The country’s last comprehensive lockdown was lifted in May.