PESHAWAR: The PTI-led Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Friday launched the first-ever institute for street children in the province, Zamung Kor (our home).
PTI chairman Imran Khan and Chief Minister Pervez Khattak got the facility inaugurated by a street child, who was admitted to it, on the occasion of the Universal Children’s Day.
Zamung Kor has been established at the 216 abandoned apartments in Nassapa area on the outskirts of Peshawar at a cost of Rs447 million.
Imran says project brainchild of ex-wife Reham, govt should engage her for its execution in line with her vision
It will accommodate 1,000 street children and provide them with education, health, recreation, sports, boarding, food, career, psychological counseling and other necessary facilities.
All expenditure for such facilities will be borne by the provincial government.
Also, an additional 100 kanals of land will be acquired to build a sports grounds, an auditorium and cricket academy for the Zamung Kor children.
A banner displayed at the inaugural ceremony said Zamong Kor would impart street children with the latest vocational skills so that once they left the place, they’re financially independent.
Speaking on the occasion, Imran Khan praised his former wife and former ambassador for street children in the province, Reham Khan, for highlighting the problems of local street children.
“The idea of establishing Zamong Kor was first presented by Reham Khan. I give her all my gratitude for the support she gave to this project,” he said.
The PTI chief said the provincial government should involve Reham Khan in the project so that it could be executed in light of her vision.
He said Reham Khan wanted to set up a cricket academy and boxing rings for children in the institute and that even she had contacted bowler Waseem Akram and boxer Mohammad Aamir for it.
Imran ordered the relevant officials, who were in attendance, to ensure that all the land owned by the auqaf department or any other government land lying useless is turned into either forests or playgrounds.
He said the PTI government would ensure that Zamung Kor becomes a model institution having a board of governors consisting of kindhearted people wanting to help street children.
The PTI chief said such a facility would later be extended to other districts, too.
He said in the West, even the rights of animals were protected but in Pakistan, homeless children were forced to live a miserable life on streets.
Imran said the PTI government would turn Khyber Pakhtunkhwa into a welfare province.
Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister said the setting up of a facility for the dignified rehabilitation of street children was his government’s unique project, which would not only provide them with a safe, respectable and comfortable shelter but would also make available educational, health, recreational and sports facilities, and psychological and career counseling.
He said such facilities would help street children become responsible and valued citizens.
Praising the relevant government team for establishing Zamong Kor in a very short span of time, Khattak said the project would be managed by an independent board of governors.
He said in line with the PTI’s vision, his government was fully committed to investing in the youths of the province, especially children, and that all necessary resources and opportunities would be provided to them for the purpose.
The chief minister said intensified efforts were underway to get all children into the schools, while the anti-polio campaign was in full swing to save the children from physical disabilities caused by the disease.
He said the establishment of Zamong Kor was basically aimed at creating a child sensitive society, where children could enjoy their rights of survival, protection, development and social participation without discrimination and deprivation.
Khattak said the street children to be groomed at Zamong Kor under the guardianship of the provincial government would be called as ‘state children’ instead of ‘street children’.
He said a required piece of land had been provided for the SOS children village, school and a youth home in Hayatabad, Peshawar, while a welfare package would be announced very soon for the children languishing in prisons.
Zmong Kor was established in a housing scheme of Nasapa area in 1990s when Nawaz Sharif was the prime minister.
However, the scheme meant for the underprivileged people was abadoned with the houses being incomplete after the Nawaz Sharif government was ousted by the then army chief, Pervez Musharraf.
The scheme was completed later on after it was handed over to the provincial government under the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.
Lately, the government decided to use it for street children.
Published in Dawn, November 21st, 2015