Shab-e-qadar for the whole community

Slept with a lullaby and a kiss on forehead, a little beautiful girl, Ayesha Bibi, in Sharote Thingi Village, opened her eyes and learned that 13 schools were burnt over night in Diamer, Gilgit Baltistan.

She heard her parents talking about it and she sensed “concern, fear and disappointment” in their voice. They were concerned for their daughters’ lives, were fearful of the unknown and were disappointed at losing the opportunity to educate their daughters.

The parents of this little girl, in Sharote Thingi, with shattered dreams and hopes, had plans to start school in a couple of months. Life in the small village was already difficult, people had limited access to basic life necessities, they had to walk miles over the stony paths to reach out for help or to gain network signals to make a phone call. And then one morning it got worse, now people were scared of sending their daughters to schools and their lives weren’t safe.

This incident shook many, people were devastated across Pakistan and it is when ARC and its partner organization PAGE decided to step up their game, climb those mountains and reach out to the community and initiate the discussion with a hope to find solutions. It was not an easy journey but on the way we met with amazing brave people in Sharote Thingi, who wanted nothing but education for their children and future generations, and to give them what they never had. And among them was a wise man, Ayesha Bibi’s grandfather, who invited us to his home for tea and introduced us with four young girls, Ayesha Bibi being one of them and two boys who could not get education due to mobility and security issues.

ARC and PAGE joined hands with the community to build what others had broken. Together they laid the foundation of the school and every night, little Ayesha Bibi would keep an eye on the school that was opened right across her house fearing if it will still be there in the morning.

Every morning she would get excited after seeing people running around and working on opening the school as soon as possible to pave a path for her to fulfill her dreams. She now has a school, a bag full of books and a uniform she is proud to wear every morning. The nights she stayed up while school was building is what gave us the strength to do the doable!

When the school was inaugurated, Ayesha Bibi’s grandfather, the wise old man, congratulated the team of ARC & PAGE and equated the day with “Shab-e qadar- a night when all prayers are answered” – for the whole community. As the school is within their village now, they will not have to worry about relocating themselves for the sake of their children’s education.

Educate A Child (EAC) is a global initiative of Education Above All (EAA) Qatar, which aims to significantly reduce the number of children worldwide who are missing out on their right to education. The program is implemented (2018-20) across Pakistan by the American Refugee Committee (ARC) in collaboration with Government of Pakistan (GoP).