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Pakistan’s children say to President: Please do more for education

© UNICEF Pakistan/2004
32,000 postcards are delivered to Pakistan’s president
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, 13 December 2004 – Last week, during a ceremony dedicated to children’s education, the President received 32,000 postcards written by Pakistani children.

The mountain of postcards demonstrated the desire of many thousands of children to speak out about their needs and concerns regarding education.

This postcard project began last April when the Pakistan’s Coalition for Education, a group of 25 non-governmental organizations, invited children from 51 districts in Pakistan to send a message to the President of the country.

The coalition provided postcards to the children. The cards were printed in Urdu and had an important message stamped onto them: “Please do more to give every child the chance to go to school and get a quality education.”

© UNICEF Pakistan/2004
A participant at the ceremony reads her postcard
There was space underneath the card for the children to add a personal message or drawing for the President.

Many of the children’s personal messages focused on missing or poor facilities in schools, or on the quality of education and the need for creating a ‘child-friendly’ learning environment.

Others simply illustrated children’s eagerness to learn. On one card was printed: “We will study and take part in the progress of our country”, and written on another, “I don’t wish for gold ornaments but desire wealth of education.”

Commenting on the children’s personal messages, UNICEF Education Officer Vibeke Jensen said: “We can get children enrolled in schools, but what does that help if they don’t learn?  Many messages are indicating children don’t want to be in school and many drop out, because it’s harsh and unfriendly.

“In Pakistan, corporal punishment is widely used in schools and at home, children often feel maltreated, not respected, not understood; they are sometimes ridiculed by teachers and other adults. Here in Pakistan UNICEF stands ready to work with government, partner agencies and civil society to make sure that the Millennium Development Goal of promoting gender parity in education by 2005 is actively addressed and real forward progress is made.”

Hudda Shabir, age 10, summed up the spirit of the meeting - and captured the aspirations and clear-sightedness of Pakistan’s school students - with her message for the President:

“Children are the future generation of Pakistan. If they are not educated, what will happen to our country? As President, it is your duty to educate our future generation for a glowing future for Pakistan.”



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