With intolerance running rampant in every corner of the country, Next Generation Pakistan took the initiative of removing bigotry and hatred from their grassroots. At its second edition of the Ala-Ud-Din School Internship Program, NGP focused on instilling the essential values of tolerance ( be it for other sects, religions, races, habits, genders or anything ) and women empowerment through interactive learning. With 90 dedicated volunteers and around 250 students, individual attention was a primary focus. Subjects like Global Perspectives, Character Building and Problem Solving, as well as activities involving drama, arts and public speaking, offered the girls at the Ala-Ud-Din Academy a fresh break from the usual, mundane syllabus and studies, while teaching them very important lessons.
Lessons from the past and present were taught as Global Perspectives incorporated history of a type that most of these students are never taught: the civil rights movement, the suffragette movement and an unbiased account of India-Pakistan history. Knowledge about current events as well as the importance of democracy was also imparted, all in-line with the themes of tolerance and feminism. Problem solving provided the kids with a fun break from standard types of math and logic questions. Character Building was perhaps one of the first subjects of its kind, involving only activities and NO lectures whatsoever. For it is only through interactive and entertaining classes, that students end up learning the most, which showed at the internship.
Public Speaking aimed at helping the students express whatever ideas they have, and see how there are always two sides to one coin. In Arts, they made various paintings to represent the themes of tolerance, including portraits of Abdul Sattar Edhi Sahab, which were displayed on stage at the Edhi Tribute that was organized on the third day of the internship, involving heartfelt speeches, songs and poems to honor the memory of the legend. Dramatics got the students’ creative juices flowing, as they were performed live on stage at the Closing Ceremony. Awards were given to the best students at interns at the closing ceremony where everything ended on a fun and highly electric note.
At the end, it wasn’t just about changing the mindset of the students, but also providing the interns a platform to interact with the under-privileged class, to bond with them and understand their problems. For that is what we aim to achieve at Next Generation Pakistan, empathy and understanding between the rich and the poor. At the Ala-Ud-Din Internship this year, we achieved that, and a lot more!