Everything is free for students, including uniforms and their families rations

Rawalpindi:26 April: Celebrating certain anniversaries it gives a great deal of pleasure when the people who are celebrating have something to be proud of and that can be said about the Rah-e-Amal school for underprivileged children. Twenty years of dedicated work by volunteers has seen many children rise from the shackles of poverty to live a better life, all because they have received a decent education - not to say anything about the moral guidance that has made them better human beings. To mark this important anniversary the school had been decked out with tents, balloons and buntings. The teachers were dressed in their best; the children were excited especially those taking part in the skits; donors who could manage to attend were present; music blared – all this contributing to the celebratory atmosphere. The programme began with a reading from the holy Quran. With teachers Farhana and Faiza acting as MC’s, songs and skits were presented by the different classes; a couple of speeches were made by students who voiced an opinion about their school, while the closing item was a speech by a young man who urged the children to study hard, giving his own example of what he had achieved. He also sang a hymn (naat) and had a good voice. In conclusion, founder of the school, Zehra Fasahat said she was happy to be celebrating with the students as their smiling faces made her feel content that Allah had given her the will, as well as the opportunity, to go ahead with the mission of educating children. The program ended with the singing of the Rah-e-Aman song and the national anthem. Refreshments were served to everyone and the children went home carrying their goody bags, while volunteers and donors discussed how quickly twenty, satisfying years had gone by. Zehra Fasahat, a gentle, soft spoken woman has a heart of gold - she understands the value of restoring dignity to the vulnerable, especially children who are the future of our world. Twenty years ago she saw about a dozen children squabbling near a garbage heap over who had the right to collect scraps from it. Calling them over she told them it was wrong to fight and sharing was good as there was enough for everyone. Suddenly, as if on their own momentum, the words poured out of her mouth. “Do you want to learn how to read and write?” she asked. “If so, come tomorrow morning and I will teach you.” Next morning five children turned up at her doorstep - two girls and three boys. The first lesson was in cleanliness, as faces and hands were washed and hair combed before other subjects were tackled. With these humble beginnings began the success story of the school. As the word spread more children joined; volunteers offered their help and donors (read family and friends) began to contribute. Everything is free for the students, including uniforms and their families also get monthly rations when possible, especially during Ramazan. After doing their matriculation, some bright children have been given scholarships to study further and are now successfully employed. While many volunteers have come and gone constant who also need to be recognised are Razia Hayat; Samia Omar Khittab; Uzma Azam; Maimoona Gulraiz and Dr Tahmeena Azhar - especially the first two ladies.The news.

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