In such testing times, when the world is taken aback by this invisible pandemic, Sughra is working wonders while continuing her education, teaching her siblings, and became a torchbearer for others.
In pursuance of Pakistan’s Federal Government decision to combat Covid-19, the Government of Balochistan province has also shut down all schools across the province until further notice. This also includes district Jaffarabad, where 280 schools are being funded under UNESCO’s Girls’ Right to Education Programme (GREP). In such testing times, when the world is taken aback by this invisible pandemic, Sughra is working wonders while continuing her education, teaching her siblings, and became a torchbearer for others. She is a 12-year-old girl, a Grade-5 student in the Government Girls High School (GGHS) Rojhan Jamali in the district of Jaffarabad.
Even before UNESCO's Girls Right to Education Programme GREP's inception at her village, Sughra was known as a brilliant student, someone full of energy and ever ready to help others. Due to her caring nature, she was nominated as the President of her school’s Child Club. The formation of Child Clubs is a regular feature of all GREP project schools. Because of the school closure, Sughra contacted the UNESCO Project Team through the Parent Teachers School Management Committees (PTSMCs) seeking assistance to continue her education with her siblings at home. To encourage Sughra’s novel home learning initiative, UNESCO’s team instantly reached out to her, providing 80 storybooks, hand sanitizers, and soap. Sughra was trained to maintain social distancing and adopt other precautionary measures to remain protected from COVID-19 while learning from home.
The lockdown has brought out the best in me. Since the outbreak of the epidemic, I have become a student-cum-teacher. Apart from other tasks, story sessions are regularly undertaken. I keep my home disinfected at all times, help my siblings in their studies and frequently tell them to wash their hands to remain safe.
Building on Sughra’s initiative, students’ child clubs with the help of local volunteer teachers have established eight such centres in nearby villages. While emulating the same practice, Balochistan Secondary Education Department has implemented an initiative called Mera Ghar, Mera School (My Home, My School) and established it in 738 homes. The commencement of home-based learning centres by the Government, parents, teachers, and PTSMCs is a step in the right direction during this devastating pandemic. Sughra’s incredible resolve to continue her education in the face of the COVID-19 calamity at such a young age is extraordinary and shows her conviction to help herself, her family, community and country.
The constraints imposed by handling COVID-19 have considerably improved my knowledge and it is now reinforcing my commitment to become a schoolteacher once I am done with my education