Imparting Change through Education


Imparting Change through Education

Education is the first step towards change but unfortunately the saying is unheard of in our context.  While poverty is skyrocketing, education for the poor is only becoming a farfetched dream.

 

 

Baithak School System is a hope towards betterment. It operates under the banner of Society for Educational Welfare (SEW); a movement organized by female volunteers to educate the destitute children across the country.

 

 

It didn’t start as a school system; rather it was a single room and a few fresh graduates from Karachi University who took up the gigantic task of teaching those who can’t pay for their education. Tayaba Atif and her enthusiastic friends took the initiative to payback the society, what they have received from it, in the form of education. These amazing womenfolk joined hands to make a difference in the world around. Their goal was simple yet sacred; to contribute to the society by teaching poor kids in an area where there was no government school and hence the first Baithak School was established.

 

 

The feedback was great; more people were motivated by the move which helped gather human and financial resources and within short span of two years, 57 baithak schools were opened where there was a void in educational institutes. Schools were more focused on imparting primary education to those kids who usually wouldn’t   turn up to the schools. Social activists went door to door to convince the parents to send their kids to school. Things started improving and now almost 14000 students are studying in 134 baithak schools across the country. In the year 2000, Society for Educational Welfare (SEW) was registered as a non-profit organization to provide an umbrella cover for the school system.

 

 

The aim of the Baithak schools is to provide quality education to the under privileged students. Even with low level infra-structure, high quality education can be imparted to those who cannot afford it. More focus is placed on females and hence 80% students are girls in these schools. Funds and donations are raised for children who cannot afford their school books and uniforms. There are some salaried teachers, but most of the staff and entire management consist of dedicated volunteers.

 

 

There is more to the SEW than this. It is totally managed by female volunteers, a rarity in our society. Pakistan is a country, where women are usually tagged as being victims of violence and oppression. The idea propagated is that they are not allowed to work in the main stream. “The developed world” curiously questions if women are allowed to go outside their homes and get education in Pakistan. In this scenario, an organization, fully organized and managed by women and engaged in doing something meaningful and progressive is more than just appreciable.



A contributor for The News/Geo blogs


  • Dr. Tahir Khan Durrani

    This is perfectly right that education is the prime step to impart change in the way people think about different aspects of life. If we look at the history of human, knowledge in any form has always ruled and illiteracy has always been a slave. This principle has been constant through out the human history. We need to bring this highly vital change in Pakistan more then any where in the world, where we are facing the demons of religious fanaticism, intolerance, wrong interpretation of Islam and especially suppressing women in the name of religion. In the present interpretation of Islam being portrayed by our so called religious leaders and the fanatics calling themselves Taliban and protectors of Islam, women are are considered and treated as slaves and objects of suppression and just a piece of property and utility, nothing else. We are burning their schools, keeping them trapped in dark ages, but in fact we are afraid of their true potentials.

    In my opinion, the main cause of this mind set is the blind following of the mind set being internationalized by Saudi Arabia, where the ultra orthodox baduin culture is still being followed and imposed in the name of religion. The culture which has always treated women as property not as an equal human being and has a long history of suppression in the name of religion. The example is the most ridiculous interpretation was recently highlighted that if women are given permission to drive, there will be no more virgins available to marry. This is a clear symbol of lack of knowledge or the wrong knowledge. The decision makers in the kingdom are still the people who are living in the stone age, with very strong tribal mindsets with no realization of change happening repidly across the globe. Using the vast amount of oil money and using it to impose and influence their mind set and interpretation of Islam to the poor Muslim countries. In other words poor people, who do not have means of better education in Muslim countries are being enslaved on the basis of this free oil money and being used as a tool to protect their ultra orthodox mind set.

    Spread of education will change the whole scenario and will clearly show that the Women are no less intelligent, hard working then men. The education will empower women and put the macho ism of men in jeopardy. This is the real fear among men, right from the history. Look at the 300myears of darkest ages of Europe, when church was dominating the state, every individual with knowledge and conscious was considered enemy of the Christ and persecuted in the name of religion. The women were the most suppressed species. The moment the church was separated from the state, the whole Europe and America took a giant leap in the field of knowledge and science and now ruling the whole world on the basis of their knowledge. Even if we call ourse3lves a free and independent country, we are the slaves of knowledge being controlled by the west.

    If we need to progress, we will have to follow the same principle. We will have take mullah out of the equation. Religion is a highly personalized affair. It is direct relation between the man and Allah. No one has the right to impose on me or tell me how should I live my life, as long as I have enough education which can empower me to differentiate between the righ and wrong. The task which these so called religious stalwarts try to take on to themselves and then exploit people for their own vested interest.

  • Hagoo

    May GOD bless those ladies who look after the destitute children whom probably GOD himself has forgotten. In a country like Pakistan where there are more animals than humans, this is a very positive development. All is not lost then.

  • NASAH

    Imparting education to the children takes lots of education and money to teach the teachers — in a country where the priorities are to feed a humongous military’s appetite and fill a widening nuclear sinkhole.

  • Farhan

    I am very disappointed with our government, for ALLAH SWT sake please forget about running after money and do some good. Hats off to our new generation who at least have right direction towards our success. After studying for long time I now sometime think we again have to learn the basic study from the start that is gain and spread knowledge.

  • Anonymous

    Highly commendable – reality in Pakistan is that masses will only get education if the educated lot impart it on a self-help basis.

    Perhaps NASAH Sb could have included the corrupt and crooked politicians rulers past and present in that avaricious appetite to maintain some balance….

  • S Nasrullah

    Bravo Saad Khan for highlighting the pioneering spirits of those wonderful band of dedicated ladies out to educate our youth who cannot afford it by the routine drill of fee, uniform and books. Call a rose by any name and it would smell sweet. Whether Baithak School or anything else, the poor youth are offered a brave and brilliant chance to equip their mental capacities to compete for jobs that have always been the reserve for the elite graduates of the elite institutes. It finds a parallel to the Sipah-e-Danish ( soldiers of enlightenment) campaign initiated by the Iranian Government. There the government provided funds, facilities and functionaries. This cursed government of PPP of Az-YG combine has no time for education, which is vital for all national development programs. They are only interested in the quantum and inflow of Aid from any quarter to funnel out their commission and stash them in foreign banks.
    You have convincingly negated the malignant and the mischievous propaganda taking rounds about the backward cultural compulsions where women are restricted to the four walls of their homes, whiling away their time and energy. Such pioneering initiatives must not only be appreciated, augmented and admired but also conspicuously highlighted to stem the vested negative propaganda.