Article 25 A of the Constitution of Pakistan states: “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of five to sixteen years in such manner as may be determined by law.” The question arises if the state is doing so, why do all children in Pakistan not have access to free and compulsory education?
A section of society that remains utterly neglected when it comes to basic literacy is based in slums (or katchi abadi). The people here eke out their living by collecting garbage, sweeping the streets, cleaning sewerage pipes, washing cars, or begging for alms. A school for the children in these extremely poor localities is, hence, worth commending.Door of Awareness, in Model Town Extension, is a not-for-profit organisation that runs as many as 23 schools for children in slum areas, and provides them free education.
A project of Ruba Humayun, the organisation began with a small setup in 2007, going into the slums and trying to gather children to study under the shade of a tree. Proverbially put, there’s been no turning back for her. Today, 23 of their schools boast 2000 (or above) students who are pursuing the Punjab Textbook Board curriculum. Interestingly, girl students outnumber the boys. Six schools are being run by donors or people who have adopted them, while another five are under construction.
Door of Awareness provides vocational training, especially to girls, such as stitching and handicraft work. We also train girls as beauticians; a couple of them have already started their own parlour businesses, while a few are employed at different beauty salons.
The girls and boys usually drop out of school in class six or seven as the girls attain marriageable age while the boys reach the stage where they can start to earn a living. There are very few who continue with studies and work.