Islamabad - In a society where education and social justice for all is still a distant dream, an organisation in the social sector has come forward to extend its helping hand to the underprivileged children.

‘Panaah’, a non-governmental organization (NGO) has become a shelter for hundreds of children from the most neglected and underprivileged part of the society. Established a year ago, this organisation has expanded its work in three cities of the country including Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

The organisation is supporting the poor children focusing on the areas of education, specifically for the orphans who have to struggle for their bread and butter in the tender age.

Director ‘Panaah’, Syeda Kulsume Hai informed The Nation that the organisation – running its offices in three major cities of the country – is a shelter for more than 400 children.

She said children deprived of social justice and basic facilities are the targets of the organisation and it is providing help by supporting them in education until they reach the age of self-dependency.

The organisation selects the families living below the poverty line by obtaining the data from local administration of the city and verifying it from the poverty score card.

As per the recent Pakistan Education Statistics, nearly 22.6milion children are reportedly out of school. The report said only 30 percent children were enrolled from class 1 to 10 and nearly 44 percent children between the ages of five to sixteen are still out of school.

Meanwhile, Article 25-A of the constitution, which addresses the right of education sector says that 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 organisation has taken the initiative to support the children from age of seven to 18.

Director Panaah said that more than 200 children – only in Islamabad taking education under open sky – have been adopted by the organisation and would become part of mainstream society.

Following a different way in order to support the underprivileged, the organisation is discouraging the provision of cash to the children.

The director said keeping in view the transparency; the organization provides books and other financial support of the children to the school.

Mentioning the challenges in the charity work, the director said that it is difficult to convince a family to put his child for the education and taking him out of the labour.

“A minor child is an asset and also a source of income for the families living below the poverty line and they are not ready to send their child to school,” she said.

She said that such social behaviours of the society are the biggest challenge for the transformation of the society and setting a right direction.

“Role of the state is required to change the attitude which is not very significantly being played,” she said. Director Panaah said that lack of enabling an environment in the country is contributing in closing the ways for the children who are left behind because of poverty.

“The state and social sector are required to provide that enabling an environment for such children as they can also become the part of the society,” she said. She said that donation on an individual level can help an individual for a short period but a systematic reform by strengthening the social sector can bring a big change and become more helpful for the underprivileged people. “The state and society must have to look towards its children as investing in the child are investing in your future,” she said.

 

rahul basharat