Light at the End of the Tunnel – Arando Village, Shigar District

Light at the End of the Tunnel – Arando Village, Shigar District, Gilgit Baltistan – Pakistan

Located 140 kilometer from Skardu city, Arando village in Shigar district consists of 180 households having only boys’ primary school. The village does not have any communication system nor it has the luxury of electricity, which makes it (Arando) the most deprived one in Baltistan region.

The valley stretches about 170 kilometer from Skardu to Askole and is the gateway to the high mountains of the Karakoram. The town of Shigar is the largest settlement in valley and largely an inaccessible place. It is a popular destination for hiking, trekking and mountains like the world’s highest peak of K-2.

During winters, the region receives heavy snowfall,which makes the lives miserable for the residents of the village located at the bank of Shigar River in the most remote part of the region. The area remains cut off from the rest of the world sometimes for more than six months due to snowfall and road blockades by the snow avalanches.

The literacy mobilizers of Alight Pakistan identified the area, contacted with the community leaders and established village education committee for the establishment of non-formal school and girls enrollment in Arando village. It was due to the community mobilization efforts of the literacy mobilizers that the villagers agreed for the identification and enrollment of their out-of-school girls aged between 6-16 in the non-formal school.

It was the result of the dedicated efforts of the literacy mobilizers that the VEC members identified 80 out-of-school girls in the locality and got them enrolled in the non-formal school, for which the VEC identified space and a teacher.

As it was really difficult for one teacher to impart teaching and managing 80 girls in the non-formal school, the VEC members developed consensus and agreed to generate fund for the salary of another teacher.

“I want my daughter to study, work hard and become financially independent. Our generations of women have been illiterate as there was no educational facility for the girls. But, Alight has established a non-formal school for our girls,” says Mehdi Ali Arando, adding that education can transform the lives of millions.

Mehdi Ali Arando said that his daughter always aspired to get education but we did not have had any facility in our village. “Now it is the time that our girls get education and become teachers, doctors, engineers and specialists in varied fields of life,” says Mehdi Ali, adding that it is his aim to put his every effort for the quality education of his daughter.