Here at Next Generation Pakistan, we believe in one simple motto: “one child without hope is too many”. Therefore, after numerous visits to the red-light area of Lahore, we decided to cater to the children of the Walled City as well. Project Androon was not centered on conventional education such as English, Science and Math. Rather, it was based upon teaching these children subjects such as Arts and Crafts, Dramatics, Storytelling and History.
The purpose of choosing these subjects was so that these children could learn how to harness their talents. Therefore, for this project, Next Generation Pakistan collaborated with Aabroo and Yousaf Sallahuddin so as to form a strong base within the confines of the Walled City. Team Next Generation Pakistan had planned for this project to last for two weeks, one of which would be entirely held at historical places located in the City.
The project started on the 17th of June with an orientation for volunteers at the Lahore Fort. They were expected to make lesson plans with one another so as to achieve consistency in their respective subjects. They were also briefed upon what they could expect from this project. The volunteers and students had an icebreaking session on the 19th of June at a school in Saith Mitha Bazaar, whereby only eighteen children had shown up. These children were taught painting, the basics of dramatics, different stories and general Pakistani history. The team then saw a gradual increase in the number of students as volunteers began to teach diverse topics to students each day. Where on one day, younger students would be taught clay modeling and Sufiism; the elder students would be taught how to formulate different stories and then enact them. By the end of the first week of Project Androon, we had a total of fifty four students who wanted to be taught by the Team.
Team Next Generation Pakistan also hoped to sustain Project Androon on a more long term level. Therefore, we decided to fund children who had an interest in the subject along with a discernible talent that no other child possessed. One such child was Naqeem; who we discovered from our clay modeling classes. Naqeem had made an entire hut, replete with a toilet and a bedroom, with a cardboard roof overhead. When asked what he wanted to be when he’d grown up; we learnt that he wished to be a computer engineer and an artist. His father earned a mere eighty rupees by making 1200 caps and therefore, Naqeem strived to be better. He wanted to be better for the sake of his mother who would spend her days doing odd jobs just so that her son would get the education his parents couldn’t. Two of our volunteers, Rutabah Ahmad and Maham Talib bought Naqeem’s clay house and we are currently hoping that he gets mentoring lessons from a renowned clay modeling firm.
The second week of Project Androon commenced on the 22nd of June whereby we took students to different historical locations. They were taken to Lahore Fort and Badshahi Mosque on the 23nd of June, Wazir Khan Mosque on the 24rd, the Lahore Museum and Zoo on the 25th and lastly, Jehangir’s Tomb on the 26th of June. The purpose of teaching these children at these locations was for them to understand the importance of their locality and to find inspiration within in order to succeed. Team Next Generation Pakistan is proud to state, that we went from eighteen children on our first day to ninety four on our last.
A second installment of the project is scheduled to be held in December. We hope our students continue to inspire us with their ambitions and we hope we continue to cater to the children of the Walled City for years to come.