11 October 2019 (Islamabad): The International Day for Girl Child was commemorated by students and teachers in Islamabad with the support of Alight Pakistan (formerly American Refugee Committee), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Federal Directorate of Education (FDE), Pakistan Alliance for Girls Education (PAGE) and Moawin Foundation. The event featured short performances by once Out-of-School Children now enrolled in the non-formal schools established across the Islamabad Capital Territory.

Since 2008, Alight Pakistan is coordinating the nation’s largest ever Out-of-School Children intervention in collaboration with the Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training and Education Above All, Qatar. The program, known as “Educate a Child”, aims at enrolling one million OOSC across Pakistan and builds on existing formal and non-formal education systems in the country.

Students from schools in Muslim colony, Thanda Pani, Khanna Dak, Jhang Syedan, and Panjgran participated, reading poems and putting on plays. Certificates and cup trophies were distributed among participant schools.

Pakistan has the second-highest number of OOSC, with at least 5.6 million children under age 9 not attending school. Collaborative efforts of the public, private, development sector and philanthropists have been tackling the challenge but a significant dent has yet to be made. The program has developed partnerships with Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), Provincial Departments, and civil society organizations to address this daunting challenge.