PESHAWAR: “Being a woman it was upsetting for me to sell my wedding jewellery because it was like selling part of my soul. I had already given a pledge to my poet husband to help him fulfil his dream. The crucial moment came and I had to a make decision. Today I see his dream of setting up a school for unprivileged children realise,” says Sadia Amir Khan.
Three years ago, young poet and social activist Amir Gamaryani, a resident of Pashtun Garhi, had dreamt of establishing a school to offer quality education to the children of poor people.
He took a bold step: sold his village land to the resentment of his family and began search for a suitable site to establish the school of his dreams.
At that time, Amir was a teacher at a private school and he had seen how owners of such schools exploited students and their parents.
He said owners of private schools charged high fee but didn’t provide quality education and the required facilities to students.
“I thought why I shouldn’t sell my own land in the village and open up a school, where I could give education focusing on the aim to enable students to work for the community after they come out as successful useful citizens,” he said.
Amir launched a campaign to collect donations as the price of the new site of his proposed school was higher than the that of his land.
A young poet sells own land to set up school for unprivileged children
Many friends termed his desire a ‘mere illusion of poet’, while others laughed at his dream. However, only a few promised help.
After some time, he purchased over 124 marlas land opposite Pashtun Garhi Chowk near GT Road. The place was accessible to the targeted community.
“I became quite sure about my dream coming true when a poor schoolteacher in Peshawar donated Rs50,000 for my project.
Afterwards, donations began pouring in from former students, friends and relatives.
“I also participated in a training workshop in the US two years ago. It further motivated me to work for the welfare of my immediate community,” he said.
The school named ‘Sabawoon Academy’ will be launched in the next academic session.
As claimed by Sadia, it will offer quality education to children at half the fee charged by private schools in the area, while more than 20 children both girls and boys will get free education.
“A balanced syllabus reflective of peace, tolerance and local culture has been developed by visionary educationists, who form the school’s board of governors.
“Trained and dedicated teachers will be inducted not only to teach and demonstrate but also to inspire youths. The main purpose is to help the local community not earn money as others do but raise awareness to inculcate a spirit of volunteerism in the people,” she said.
Local religious scholar Qazi Ahmad said the opening of Sabawoon Academy would be a new dawn for local people.
“Being poor, most people can’t afford to send their children to Peshawar or Nowshera city. At that school, our children will get education quite different from ordinary schools. This is what I feel after examining its syllabus, which is an amalgamation of modern and local themes,” he said.
Published in Dawn January 12th , 2014