During last few days, a false and baseless propaganda has been launched in the media alleging that the Sindh government is threatening to close a make-shift, footpath schools in the vicinity of Abdullah Shah Ghazi Shrine, which is being run by a non-governmental organization (Ocean Welfare Organization). The Information Department, Sindh Government has denied and rejected this negative propaganda.
This is to highlight that a committee has been constituted by the Sindh government for the welfare and protection of such at-risk and underprivileged children.
This Committee is also tasked, as per its TORs, to look into the availability of possible options for bringing children of footpath schools into the fold of mainstream education, especially, by examining the issue of increasing trends of begging by children in and around shrines, lakes and subsequently other such places etc.
The broad objectives to facilitate rehabilitation, schooling and skill development solutions for children, adolescents while exploring the most viable solutions for addressing the issue of Footpath Schools in the province in general and areas surrounding of Abdullah Shah Ghazi Shrine (Karachi), vicinity of Qalandar’s Mazar in Sehwan and proximity of Manchar Lake, initially as test cases.
The Committee comprises of Secretaries from Social Welfare Department, Auqaf, Religion Affairs, Zakat and Usher Department, Information Department and Special Secretary of School Education and Literacy Department, Managing Director, Sindh Education Foundation and Director Programs and 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. Ocean Welfare Organization was invited to discuss the possibility of streamlining the Footpath School run by Ocean Welfare Organization under the Shahra-e-Firdousi Bridge opposite to the Abdullah Shah Ghazi Mazar in Karachi. The School Education and Literacy Department, Sindh Government offered to provide a dedicated school building to accommodate and facilitate the education of the students presently enrolled in the footpath school at different locations in the nearby schools starting with the ‘Footpath School’ run by the NGO in front of Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine.
In addition to that, funds for facilitating the provision of teachers, furniture, and textbooks were pledged on behalf of the Sindh Government as well.