August 20, 2019, By Ebadat-ur-Rehman Babar, Published in Rotary International

Our idea started back in 2018, when I and two other members of my Rotaract club began looking for an innovative, sustainable project. We wanted to submit an entry for the Rotaract Outstanding Project Awards and we came up with an idea of starting a school for child laborers who do not have enough resources for their education.

According to a survey conducted by the Federal Bureau of Statistics, out of the estimated 40 million children in Pakistan, approximately 19 million are working as child laborers, the majority of those living in slum areas. These kids can’t even write their own name. Education is the key to success. So, we prepared a project proposal and submitted it to the rest of our team and they accepted it. But due to lack of resources, we weren’t able to begin last year.

Faisalabad Rotaract club members lead an evening class for child laborers.

In July, we launched the project with funds we collected from club members and named it Gosha-e-Ilm, an Urdu word which means “Corner of Knowledge.” The primary aim of this project is to end illiteracy. We started in the neighborhood of Lyallpur, Pakistan, but have plans to expand into other areas of the city after we hold a fundraiser in the near future.

Initially in Gosha-e-Ilm we are providing evening classes. The students can earn their wages during the day and study in the evening. We are teaching them basics and involving them in different learning activities. We provide them all the necessary supplies including stationery.

Gosha-e-Ilm is not just about providing schooling, though. It’s a vision for building a better country. In supporting education and building awareness of social issues like  climate change, our aim is to improve the quality of life for these children and raise the standard of living for all Pakistanis.

“Gosha-e-Ilm is a chain and we will not let it rust.”