Earlier in the year, Andrew Hart, PAK7 CEO, was privileged to be able to visit the Primary Education Project (PEP), run by the Church of Pakistan in the Sindh region of Pakistan.
"One of the things that PAK7 wants to do is to show the church in action, to shine a light on the great work that the Christians of Pakistan are doing to build their nation. This is one such story, of a fantastic team who are helping to run over 100 small schools in the villages around Hyderabad, as well as a number of Women's groups which help with issues of health, financial advice and other education. This visit was to enable me to see the project firsthand and to explore how PAK7 might make a program that can highlight the great work that is going on.
The first visit of the day was to a school in one of the villages. It is always very humbling to arrive at a school and to be greeted with such honour - about 30 children performed a song for me and I was welcomed by the Headmaster and one of the elders from the community.
Then I was taken into the classroom and watched as the children demonstrated some pretty impressive maths skills on the blackboard. I learned about their Savings club (which was very well managed and which helps them to pay their school fees or buy books), watched several role plays that they use to practice English, and saw how they were using Android tablets to help them with their studies (these are shared among multiple schools and turn up once a week, fully charged, for lessons).
In the next school I visited the young people wanted to learn about me and I asked them about their lives. They clearly love their school and value their education so dearly. The PEP team do an amazing job, working with the villages to set up these schools - they are all funded by the villages themselves, who have to pay their own fees to cover the costs of the teachers (who usually come from within their own village). This kind of self-sustainability is so important if projects like this are to last and indeed grow their impact over time. After a few minutes of chatting with the kids I began to wish that I'd brought them a gift of a cricket bat and a ball... next time I will be better prepared!
Lastly I met with this wonderful Women's group who had a great humour about them. Whether I was being funny or simply kept asking dumb questions I'm not sure, but we had fun laughing together. I think this laughter was in response to me asking whether they watched TV while the children were at school... of course not, they're working then! Apparently they only get to watch TV in the evenings once all of the work is done and the children are in bed; for many of them, their husbands are away all week (and sometimes for months at a time) working in the city.
It's a simple life in the village, but the story of these communities and the hope that the Primary Education Project is bringing them is one that I'm looking forward to PAK7 telling."