Press Release: With the advent of the dreadful incident of baby Zainab and with the history of the vulnerability of the vicinities of Mazars and Shrines in Sindh along with increasing trends in beggary near landmark locations, the Government of Sindh had constituted and notified a Committee with a view to examine the issue of increasing trends of begging by children in and around Mazars, Lakes and subsequently other shrines etc. The broad objectives were to facilitate rehabilitation and schooling & training solutions for children / adolescents while exploring the most viable solutions for addressing the issue of Footpath Schools in the province in general and area surrounding Abdullah Shah Ghazi Mazar (Karachi), vicinity of Qalandar’s Mazar in Sehwan and proximity of Manchar Lake, initially as test cases.
The Committee was tasked to examine the options of incentivizing students and determine the most suitable option of providing the students with small meal components of basic need items etc. given their special requirements and also to negotiate with the organizations / parents / communities that could help in rehabilitating students.
This Committee, notified wide NO:SO (C-IV)SGA&CD.3-7/10(P-I) dated 25th January 2018, was also tasked to look into the availability of possible options for bringing children of footpath schools into the fold of mainstream education.
The Committee comprises of Secretaries from Social Welfare Department, Auqaf, Religion Affairs, Zakat & Usher Department, Information Department and Special Secretary of School Education & Literacy Department, Managing Director Sindh Education Foundation and Director Programs & Planning Sindh Education Foundation.
In pursuance of its TORs the Committee held its first meeting dated 29th January 2018 with a positive intent to move forward and work together with the Civil Society that is already engaged in the problem areas. M/s Ocean Welfare Organization was acknowledged and invited to discuss the possibility of streamlining the Footpath School run by the Ocean Welfare Organization under the Shahrah-e-Firdousi Bridge opposite to the Abdullah Shah Ghazi Mazar in Karachi. The School Education & Literacy department has offered for providing a full school building to accommodate education of the students presently enrolled in the footpath school at different locations in the nearby schools starting with the ‘Footpath School’ run by M/s Oceans Welfare Organization in front of Abdullah Shah Ghazi Mazar, for this, necessary arrangements i.e. Teachers, furniture and text books and the budget will be provided.
The Government is willing to work together with M/s Oceans Welfare Organization and build upon their good relations with the communities and the street / vulnerable children so that a formal education platform is provided to these children in order to secure their future and to avoid any accidents / incidents that can threaten the well-being of these children. The Government intends to provide a more appropriate mechanism for rehabilitating the students coming from special circumstances.
AGREED ACTION: Representative from M/s Oceans Welfare Organization suggested to get a written proposal / intimation from the School Education & Literacy Department which will be examined by their Board.