Peshawar is a city of major historic and cultural importance in Pakistan. Whilst it has the honour of being Pakistan’s largest Pashtun-majority city, it’s also a tourist hub, drawing hundreds of thousands of tourists for its food and its architecture, redolent of Anglo-Indian architectural style.
However, as per district-level estimates, conducted in 2017, around 32% of children in urban Peshawar are out of school. The female literacy rate paints an even more alarming picture, with only 51% of females 10+ being fully literate in Peshawar. One may ask what is the cause for such worrisome figures? The answer lays in the fact that Peshawar poverty rate stands at 31%.
With an androcentric culture embodying Peshawar, the staggeringly high rate of impoverishment has made girls education, particularly at higher secondary level, near impossible. In destitute regions of Peshawar, like Larama, most adults are barely daily wagers, selling flour or driving rickshaws. Due to such poor economic circumstances, many girls are forced to work as scrape pickers or vendors to support their parents and households.
Moreover, in slums like Larama, the severity of poverty is that many girls have never seen the face of school. Yet, many parents have expressed their desire for their children, particularly daughters, to receive an education and break the cycle of generational illiteracy. In response, PAGE, with passionate support from donors, has established Star School Larama in Peshawar.
The school, as of 2021, now hosts 28 boys and 29 girls, most hailing from destitute communities in Peshawar. Many children, with support from respective teacher Miss Amina, have been enrolled as star students and are now receiving education under an accelerated primary education program.
Moreover, PAGE is providing inspiration for women to get educated and empower themselves.