There is a village in one of the most remote desert areas of Sindh; there are no markets on the corner or small shops down the street. Sand gets caught in your eyelashes and fields of wheat rustle.
Our school here is only 3 months old. With such a young school you might expect to need to do some nurturing- a little encouraging to overcome some challenges that might have arisen, like you would with a young plant. However, when our Monitoring Team visited this school, the students had already sprouted up and were beginning to blossom.
Right now the school children don’t have benches yet, so they simply sit on tarps. You could see them bouncing on those tarps though with unabashed enthusiasm and pride for their school.Three months ago these children were working in fields harvesting crops. Three months ago they were collecting wood to sell. Three months ago their feet were aching from standing up all day and their hands were blistered from wielding a blade for 12 hours to cut feed for animals.
And when they were asked which they liked better- they stood up, their eyes wide, and yelled, “SCHOOL!”
They are beginning to realize that they have something to offer. They are starting to grasp that they are more valuable than a donkey or a camel. They can do more than being a work animal and they can use their beautiful brains. Though only a handful of people have a primary education in the village, the families long to give their children what they never had. They want their children to recognize they are someone worth investing in.
Three months ago they were child laborers.
Today they are students, change makers, hope-bearers, future-planners, and thinkers.