Karachi, the city of lights, has slums classified into three main categories:
i, Slums found around developed areas
Ii, Slums found around undeveloped areas
Iii, Countryside slums I.e slums isolated from cities and villages
• Children from Interior Sindh, Lower Punjab and Balochistan are permanently settled in countryside slums
Idara al Khair has a primary focus on the children of categories ii and iii since children hailing from these areas are the ones who are at serious risk. In 2002, The President of Idara al Khair Mr Mazahir visited a village named Goth Jam chakro. This is a village where garbage and waste is dumped daily by 400-500 garbage disposal trucks. This village was house to 400 families which were subjected to harsh and unhygienic living conditions. The major mean of income for these families was sorting through this mound of garbage in search of objects that can be recycled and sold such as glass and steel. The land they lived upon was nothing but garbage and the air they breathed was nothing but intoxicated air from burned waste. This was the far end of the world that non would consider even thinking about the place.
This was not a place where one could even think of raising their children. Children of this village were subject to injuries and bruises owing to the work they did for a living. Children as young as 4 were lending their little helping hand to ensure survival of the family. Such conditions compelled the President of Idara Al Khair to open a school in this area. It was too much for him to see youth wasted in a disgraceful manner. Giving away food and clothing was just a temporary solution. Food was soon going to run out and the children would soon outgrow the clothes. Education was a more permanent solution. A small school was started under the sky in the garbage. A board was placed where majority of the children were found working.
Success was not instantly found. On the first day, the board attracted 0 students as they stayed indulged in their routine. Day 2 showed signs of promise. A few students showed up to the board out of curiosity and thus began a journey to find light in the midst of dark. The students who showed up to the board were inspired. After a small lecture, they returned home with the desire to come back tomorrow. Days passed and inspiration reached from one heart to another. After 15 days, the board had attracted 58 students. A makeshift room was made to carry the future of this young inspired youth. The number of juggis was increased to 7. Nature however had other plans. An unremorseful storm wrecked the hopes of these children as it crashed the classroom and brought the village back to where it started. This was a setback. Many believed that this was the end and it was time to return to the garbage. The President however had other plans.
The President called for a proper school to be made. His vision turned into a reality by his tireless efforts when a school of 9 rooms was properly built in the area. By this time the number of students had increased to 350. It was time to bring in teachers as the platform was laid to a bright future for the village. Teachers highly declined the offer to teach in the village. There was no security, lack of hygiene, and a school surrounded by smoke and garbage. At this point, the students of campus 1 joined hands with the president to light the candle of hope for the village similar to how the president lighted one for them. The students taught what they had been taught and thus began a brotherhood. They did not have wealth, but they had each other as they shared their wealth of knowledge.
The next problem waiting to be tackled was the unavailability of water in the area. There was no concept of clean living or even a simple bath. This was also the reason why professional teachers were refusing to be part of the mission. Water was then arranged for the school. The availability of water lead to the establishment of proper sanitation and better environment to study in. The new phase of life for the students meant that they no longer had to rely on working in the dump for a living. Some students continued to work in the dump to support the family but not for long. A new lifestyle was adopted where the children were eager to read whatever they found. They read wrappers, books, sign boards and everything that was readable.
The arrival of Idara al khair changed many customs of the village. Early marriage was very popular in the village. The custom became unpopular when children began to decline offers of marriage in favour of education. The students were now interested in aquiring professional jobs which many of them were able to accomplish. Many students moved out of the village in pursuit of better opportunities.
When Thaakat Foundation visited us again in 2015, they saw Campus 2 struggled to receive the funding they needed from donors. In 2016, they made the decision to financially adopt this campus with Al Khair.