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Apr 11, 2018

A Day for Soul Searching

Listening to the Founder
Listening to the Founder

Distance has never been a deterrent for the Founder of Khoj to not interact with the students. It was March 8th International Women’s Day and travel to the field was not a possibility. Luckily, the school is set up for virtual classes which make it possible for distance learning. This opportunity allowed a discussion on what exactly it meant to celebrate this day. The Founder gave a historical background of the occasion. But this was not the only thing that happened; a lively discussion ensued, both girls and boys help their parents in farming so the concept of equality was somewhat unclear. In order that this was understood better students of higher grades were asked to prepare a short talk on role reversal.

A question arose what if women were paid for the amount of work they put towards the housework made the boys uneasy.  This is not what they would be happy paying for the work which to them was as normal activity and never crossed their minds,  one of the boys even suggested that if that were to be the case he would much rather do all the work himself. His comment led to the need for boys’ equal contribution to the domestic work.

When the stage was set, the Founder gave a short history of Millennium Development Goals and Pakistan’s performance in achieving the goal of women’s empowerment and gender equity.  It was also shared that to work towards the unfinished agenda, Sustainable Development Goals have been launched. Goal 5 of SDGs was also discussed at length.

Next morning a visit was possible. The students were excited because they had all prepared a short essay on if I were a girl/boy. When the girls wished they were boys was mostly because of mobility and freedom to do what they liked. Going to festivals and melas, sports and visiting friends at any time of the day and also for further studies to another town/city was also expressed a reason for wanting to be a boy. Riding motorbikes was another possibility if they were not girls. Interestingly a few hands were raised when the girls were asked how many would prefer being boys that showed the suppression they lived under.

On the other hand, the boys felt that if there were role reversal they would look after their parents’ needs and cook for them. Extend help to their mothers and little else. They clearly had no idea what being a girl/woman meant. The restrictions imposed on girls after dark, travelling alone to other cities while the boys could do as they wished. One student, however, wrote a very sensitive piece on how they as boys should realize how girls feel the constraints and how they as boys could help.

Khoj School has been trying to break the stereotypes and nurture an alternative culture of care and fair play through an alternative gender-sensitive curriculum. 

If I were a girl ...
If I were a girl ...
If I were a boy ...
If I were a boy ...

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Jan 16, 2018

More Bicyles for Education and Empowerment

Concentrating
Concentrating

It was the last day of the year 2017 and I was asking the children at Khoj School for Community Education about their new year resolutions. Habiba and other girls from grade six shared animatedly their resolve to learn how to ride a bicycle which showed their burning desire to break barriers and breathe freedom. 

As Khoj had already procured two girls' bicycles, our new year gift to the school became a vehicle for fulfilling their resolution. The bikes are colourful and easy to ride for younger girls. On January 2, they started to learn how to ride those bicycles and in a matter of one week, a majority of them can now ride confidently.

The day when they took their bikes on the main road of the twin villages, their excitement was a spectacle to remember. To see girls riding bicycles in the village was something unbelievable for the village community. The passers-by stopped and looked at the bike riders in amazement. But their looks didn't bother the girls at all. 

The bikes are being used for training of the girls. Our future plan is to award those girls bicycles who are the best performing and come to school from longer distances.

We are very grateful to our friends and supporters who donate generously help us help the children work for a happy and equitable life. For girls' bikes, we are grateful, especially to Shoes by Shaherazad at www.shaherazad.com.

Faltering
Faltering
On a foggy day
On a foggy day
Moving forward
Moving forward
Unbelievable!
Unbelievable!
Dec 27, 2017

Sharing Learning with the Community

Role playing functions of the parts of a plant
Role playing functions of the parts of a plant

Khoj School for Community Education is a model of integrative and relevant gender just education that breaks the curricular barrier that divides knowledge into mutually exclusive subjects. Linkages are developed and a teaching plan is woven around a specific phenomenon which is very close to the learners' experience and reality. Children find it easier to learn science, agriculture, mathematics, nutrition, cooking, language, social values and citizenship with a common context.They sail smoothly through the process of learning. 

Parents and the community were invited to see and experience the advantages of the new approach and method which provokes creativity and curiosity, facilitates conceptual understanding and leads to logical thinking.

To mark the international children's day, mothers and other family members from eight villages were invited to participate in a program organized to share with them the level and quality of children's learning.  The whole program was planned, planned and presented by children themselves.

Children presented their knowledge and learning in the form of songs, role plays and drama. Their performances showed their language skills, expression, confidence, conceptual understanding, presentation and organizational skills. 

Towards the end of the program, mothers expressed their satisfaction and happiness on the performance of their children. They also shared the compliments of their guests outside their villages about the high-quality education imparted by Khoj School in the remote and socially and environmentally challenged tiny village. With beaming eyes, they also expressed their pride on the virtual teaching center, library and science lab in the school, something not known in other schools in the area. 

Your generous support has made all this possible. We thank you all. Your continued support is the lifeline of the school.

Presenting social issues through drama
Presenting social issues through drama
Another view of the drama
Another view of the drama
The audience
The audience
 
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