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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”