By Huda Syyed
When social turbulence and political instability encircles us from every direction, the last thing we need is to be reminded of how our country’s literacy rate is relatively low in comparison to quite a few countries in the South Asian region. There are children wandering the streets who have neither been enrolled into schools to be educated, nor do they carry national identity cards to prove their affiliation with their homeland. Where do their futures lie? Some might suggest that they’re paving their way to the same old, crime infested and child abusing corners of the county, but some refrain from making pessimistic, yet slightly realistic analyses, and lean towards the fertile possibility of hope and change. Young and emerging writers such as Aiman Waheed are the very reason that many of us grasp the fragile strands of hope, and pray that ‘education’ turns into a compulsory and effective phenomena throughout our nation.
This young girl at the tender age of 9 managed to write a novel and get it published, her ‘manuscript turned book’ is comprised of 64 pages and is titled “The Dangerous pet” which is out in the local market. So don’t hesitate to buy and explore our very own Pakistani talent who has made an academic impression even though she’s still in sixth grade. Aiman Waheed treasures her books and has always been fond of reading, which shows that the appreciation of literature and books hasn’t died and continues to thrive in our young generations too. Clearly this girl has been encouraged by her parents and has a personal liking to the idea of reading and writing (especially since she is working on her ‘mystery novel’ which is yet to come). The pressing question is how does one make the idea of reading appeal to other children?
As parents, teachers and children themselves have started prioritizing the importance of reading, it’s one way of opening up a child’s mind and broadening the horizons for imagination. Reading is the gateway from one world to another, it’s a sacred place where the child can relate to the story and characters and determine mental images him/herself. Possibilities of love, kindness, ruthlessness are recurring themes in children’s books too, and they provide a platform of learning without putting the child in a classroom in front of a chalkboard. Once again, reality hits hard and reminds us that reading throughout the country is only going to happen if the children are literate. Indeed, several schools have initiated reading programs and improved standards of libraries, but those less fortunate children also deserve to explore the depths of literary value. We as citizens have the potential to bring about change on a small-scale which could in turn create a long-term positive effect, which explains the existence of Orange Tree. The motive of this Montessori is to reach out to everyone on a local scale and enhance the efforts being invested to improve our educational status.
It’s the little steps that truly matter, tutoring a child in need, financing the yearly stationery of a child whose parents find paying his school fees burden enough, or even giving away your old books to those who might need them. Will these actions lead to an immediate wave of educational awareness and literacy across the country? No, but they will lay out stepping-stones for a better and more ‘aware’ future.
Thank you Aiman Waheed for reminding us the positive energy and potential our young children possess!