Termed as the “fruit basket” of Pakistan, as well as earning international fame for its high quality dry-fruit products, Quetta is amongst Pakistan’s most significant historic cities. Yet even being Pakistan’s only high-altitude metropolitan region, and the provincial capital of Balochistan, one of the biggest challenges that Quetta faces is the lack of education.
Resulting from lack of development, UNICEF has reported that poverty rate in Quetta stood around 46%, therefore it has the highest poverty rate amongst provincial capitals. Otherwise, amongst its 2 million residents, 35% of them live in impoverished areas (slums) such as Nichari colony. Moreover, 47% of impoverished areas do not have schools, acting as a catalyst for low rate of female literacy.
Legislatures, civil society representatives and NGO’s working in Balochistan alike have cited that the region has the lowest female literacy rate in the world, only 27%. Furthermore, despite being the provincial capital, Quetta’s literacy rate for females 15+ only lingers around 46% as cited by UNICEF.
Nichari colony, Quetta remains one of the regions that suffers from lack of education. Due to impoverishment, children in places such as Nichari colony are compelled to work to support their families. Child labor is deeply rooted in Nichari Colony, Quetta. Boys drop out of schools to work alongside their fathers in chicken and mechanic shops, whilst most families pull their girls out of education so they can work as housemaids and get married. Raheema and Ahmed are two hard working siblings in Nichari Colony, Raheema works in people’s homes after school and Ahmed runs his small food stall to make minimum money to support their family.