Today, we headed out towards a small village situated along the bank of River Kabul (a one hour drive from Peshawar, the village stretches for about 2 kilometers). Upon reaching, we were welcomed by lush green fields of sugarcane and small households, scattered across the terrain.
As we walked out for conducting the survey, the weather was pleasant with a cloudy sky. During the survey exercise, we had the chance to meet some amazing people. At the first house that we approached, a man with sturdy frame came out after we knocked several times at the door. Initially, the man was not very welcoming; however, after an exchange of greetings and introduction, we won him over. When we informed him about the purpose of our visit to his home, he called out five children to be assessed.
While I was conducting the assessment test with those children, I noticed a boy (of about 9 years) sitting in one corner of the house. Unable to hold in my curiosity, I asked the man about that boy. I inquired what had happened to him, why was he sitting in that corner and if he goes to school. The man sadly informed me that that the boy is disabled; one of his leg does not function so he does not go to school. We decided to assess the child anyway, after taking permission from his father. When we assessed his reading and arithmetic skills, we were left astonished by the results. Despite of the fact that he had never been enrolled in a school, the boy effortlessly scored ‘letters’ level in reading and English; and in case of number recognition ‘10-99’ level in arithmetic. We asked him how he was able to read and he told us that he had learnt to read from his siblings. Feeling sympathetic towards the boy, I respectfully asked his father that why wasn’t he sending this talented boy to school. The man told us that as the boy could not walk on his own; therefore, he could not go to the only Government school in their area which was very far away from their home. Moreover, they could not afford to send him to a Private school in his meager income.
We felt that something had to be done. We found out about the nearest Private school in the area; which was a few meters away from the child’s home. With his father’s help, we met with the owner of the school and discussed the boy’s case with him. After a hefty discussion, we were able to persuade the owner of the school to grant admission to the child without any fee. Such is the spirit of ASER! Every child deserves the right of getting free and quality education. As for me, I shall cherish this experience and memory forever!