In the midst of hustle and bustle of Lahore city, there is a small area called Band Road. In Lahore, the percentage of out-of-school girls is 14.8% and the Band Road area is one of the areas where girls don’t have access to school. The residents of this area include Afghani’s, Pathans, and a small number of Punjabi’s. Due to a lack of consistent income, they are unable to send their children to school. The government schools are quite far away and the private schools are too expensive. In this area, almost all the family members are working. The fathers are daily wage laborers, the mothers either work in buckle factories or work in people’s homes as housemaids. The children sort paper and cardboard scraps.
The children living in the Band Road area are victims of child labor. They help their parents financially by working in buckle factories. They also sort out leftover paper and scraps of cardboard. By selling those, they make a small amount of money with which they manage to put food on the table. The boys usually work with electricians or at the mechanic shop. The girls usually stay at home to make toys with clay, buckles or floral bouquets. Some girls go to people’s home to work as housemaids along with their mothers.
The STAR school Band Road is a blessing for uneducated parents who dream to provide education to their children. It has a total number of 35 students. Out of the total of 35 students, there are 8 boys and 27 girls. The teacher Faiza informed that the children especially girls happily come to school and are passionate about getting an education. Since they are working during the day, the timings of the school are 3-6 pm. The children can come to school after work and get the education they were missing out on, that too, without any cost.
Suniya Qureshi is passionate about the education of illiterate children especially girls in Pakistan. She has taken charge of fundraising for the Band Road STAR School.