Children from UNICEF supported Child-Friendly school contribute to Art in All of Us
By A. Sami Malik
Sheikhupura, Pakistan, May 2, 2006: Children from a UNICEF-supported Child- Friendly school (CFS) in Sheikhupura, a city in the province of Punjab, Pakistan contributed to an innovative project focusing art and poetry called ‘Art in All of US.’
“The project’s goal,” organiser Anthony Asael said, “is to bring some of the hope and acceptance we find in children all over the world, and take it to people who don’t have the opportunity to travel." "Through photographs and the poetry we intend ‘Art in All of Us’ to emphasize both similarities and differences of people worldwide. You can find in every country on the planet, children drawing, smiling, and playing, each one giving us hope and reliance into the future using their own universal communication methods,"said Anthony.
Initiated by photographers Anthony Asael and supported by UNICEF and some other non-profit organisations and individuals, ‘Art in All of Us,’ covers primary school students from 191 UN listed countries. Upon completion of the project, a World Book - containing 191 pages, dedicated to the children of the world will be published. The right hand page would cover a photo-portrait of a local child, while the left side will present a national poetry written by a local child.
In Sheikhupura, the project team conducted a day long activity with students at the Govt. Girls Elementary School. 22 selected students aged 8-12 were asked in advance to draw images depicting impressions of their country. Those interested in poetry were to write poems. In what turned out to be an art cum poetry exhibition, students proudly displayed their drawings and read out their poems which were later collected to be included in the ‘Art in All of Us’ world book.
After a brief introduction to how a digital camera works, each student was given an opportunity to take a picture of anything she liked. Students thoroughly enjoyed the exercise taking pictures of their teachers and friends. Later, they were shown photographs of children from other parts of the world and asked to guess which country the child in the photograph belonged to. Sehrish, ten years and student of grade four said, “We love this activity as it has given us an opportunity to express ourselves. I hope they chose my painting for their book.”
The school is supported by UNICEF under its CFS programme which offers a holistic and practical perspective on how schools and classrooms can be made inclusive and learning friendly. 150 schools have been chosen in six districts of Punjab to be child friendly wherein nearly 15000 (13000 girls and 2000 boys) children would benefit from improved. The main beneficiaries of the project are the primary school children and their teachers who play an instrumental role in promoting good teaching practices through training provided by UNICEF and its implementing partners.
Mrs. Farzana Cheema, Vice Principal of the GGE School said, “Our school became child friendly in 2005. Since then, enrolment has increased as students from schools in neighbouring communities have started joining our school. Students take more interest in academic work as the environment is friendly, corporal punishment is banned and students are encouraged to express themselves. We are grateful to UNICEF and the Education department Punjab for all their support to our school.”