This is the story of Allah Rakha, a child living in a Haripur neighborhood that is completely dependent on begging. Many in the community are heavy drug users and most have never had any sort of schooling. Literacy mobilizer, Tabassum Rehman, had a chance visit to the slum community. She came across Allah Rakha, meeting with his family to convince them to send the child to school, but they refused. Tabassum remained unwavering, vowing not to give up. She was determined to educate what would be the first generation of the slum community. Tabassum continued her visits to the slum community, delivering sessions on the importance of education in the effort to mobilize special attention on Allah Rakha, who had shown, again and again, a desire to go to school.

With time, some members of the community became convinced of the need of Allah Rakha’s schooling, asking Tabassum to convince local elders to prioritize education for the local children. This is no easy task as many of the children are actually called professional beggars for the amount of time they’ve put in, in begging. Many were not ready to trade off the immediate earning for an investment that would show once the children would be in school for many years. While education is an investment in human capital, the earnings may not show immediately.

The literacy mobilizer held a series of meetings and awareness sessions with the community, finally succeeding in getting permission to establish a local school for the children. This was really, in most ways, the permission to educate the first generation. Now Allah Rakha and 15 other boys and girls go to the school established in March 2019. Support from partner organization PAGE provided students with school bags and notebooks. The local ALIGHT team mobilized local resources for the school, with a board, a teacher chair, a carpet to cover the ground, a water cooler, and even clothes for the children for Eid. This story is an example of how continued perseverance can start a much needed change in the most overlooked of communities.