It is a pride seeing girls creating their identity in Pakistan, where it is hard to even raise voice for their rights. Meet one such girl who has made a mark with her incredible passion to empower the street children around her through education and theatre.
Maheen Baloch is a determined girl from Lyari, out for change, who has a mission to educate the street children in her locality at a very young age. Maheen is resident of Lyari and daughter of well-known writer and activist Abdul Wahid Baloch. She has recently completed her second year and willing to do graduate in social sciences.
Her advocacy started on a day when she was in her 10th grade and found some children playing in the street right at the time of school. Maheen took the chance and struck up a conversation with them and found out that their parents cannot afford to send them school. They and many others in her locality did not know how to write or count. That should not be the case, she thought.
She took the matter to his father, Abdul Wahid. After a long conversation and guidance of him, she decided to spend her free time teaching the kids. Maheen started with the 4 children in her home until their number grew.
Through word of mouth, her class has grown to 50 – with students aged 4 to 15.
A L S O R E A D
Maheen’s vision for the Lyari kids is for them to develop a passion for learning. She teaches them free of cost and pays for their stationery, books, bag, and others from the pocket money she receives.
As simple as it may sound, however, the task did not come easy for Maheen who assumed the role of both student and teacher at the same time.
For her, nothing is satisfying than educating the kids as she says, “I love teaching kids. We cannot live our life until we’re satisfied by what we do. I feel this fulfilling. I interact with them, talk with them and listen to them. They are very talented, the only thing needed is to dig the diamonds out of the mine and polish them well.”
She strongly believes in sharing knowledge and what we have received to change the way our society does appear.
Maheen was inspired to create a change not only through educating the children but through the theatre as well. Theatre became one of her major interests during her studies When she was in 11th grade, she realized how theatre could be used as a powerful tool to convey any kind of messages. She formed her theatre group ‘Rock the Band’. Her first play was in English called ‘New Day Will Come’, which she performed at Karachi Youth Festival and won first prize. Later, she did many plays in Urdu and Balochi too.
Importance of education
As a teacher, Maheen emphasized the importance of teaching out-of-school children like she does.
In 2017, statistics revealed that as many as 44pc children between the age of five and 16 are still out of school. The main factors are poverty and parents’ lack of interest to enroll their children in schools.
Disability, no benefits of education, health issues, lack of school facilities, closed schools and teachers’ unavailability contribute one percent each to the mix that had been keeping children away from schools.
Through her own little way. Maheen hopes to make a difference and help provide education for the street children around her.