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Apr 26, 2017

Khoj School Celebrates Earth Day 2017

Students describe the habitat of Asian Black Bear
Students describe the habitat of Asian Black Bear

On Saturday, the 22nd of April, Khoj School for Community Education celebrated International Earth Day 2017.

The preparation began weeks ago when the students learned about pollutions and the advantages of a clean environment. Our students put this knowledge to practical use and, with the help of their teachers, began a campaign to clean-up their villages. Khoj School educated children from eight surrounding villages and the children mobilized other residents of their respective villages and began in earnest, a massive clean-up campaign in all eight villages,

Another activity that was arranged for the students was a tree plantation drive in their villages. Around 300 saplings were planted. Sheesham, Neem, and Keekar were planted as these are the local varieties of trees that thrive in these areas and we did not want to inadvertently disturb the area’s ecosystem by introducing any foreign variety.

The final activity and perhaps the most exciting for our students was a mini Science Fair. Students from grades 4 upwards participated. The students were divided into nine groups and given specific projects to do. To discuss some natural causes of climate change, a group of students created a working baking soda volcano and explained the environmental damage of a volcanic eruption. Another group of students were given the task of showing a human-caused reason for environmental degradation and they displayed this by making a model of a marine oil spill and demonstrating its clean-up efforts. The students spilled some oil into the model and tried to remove it best possible while informing the rest of the students of the damages to marine life citing the example of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and its effects.  One group showed the mangrove forests ecosystem, its economic and environmental importance, why is it being degraded and what we can do to mitigate its effects. The other groups all took some animals whose existence is threatened in Pakistan and made models of their habitats and discussed the threats they are facing and how to combat them. The animals that were discussed were Asian Black Bears, Balochistan Forest Dormice, Fishing Cats, Markhor, Finless Porpoises and Marbled Polecats.

Overall, the students gained immensely valuable knowledge relating to our environment and the threats it is facing. Such activities will continue throughout the year. We are planning a mega social forestry program with the children in which we plan to plant more than 2000 saplings in all of the villages where we work.

All of this is only possible because of our wonderful donors whose help has enabled us to educate and nurture responsible citizens in these children, so THANK YOU for all your support! We could have never done this without you!

The habitat of the Balochistan Forest Dormouse
The habitat of the Balochistan Forest Dormouse
Excited about planting the saplings
Excited about planting the saplings
Planting the saplings in their villages
Planting the saplings in their villages
Volcanic Eruption!
Volcanic Eruption!
Apr 10, 2017

Khoj School Attends Tamasha Festival 2017

Group Photo with our Workshop Head Sue Giles
Group Photo with our Workshop Head Sue Giles

From the 7th to the 9th of April 2017, children from Khoj School for Community Education participated in the Tamasha Festival 2017 in Lahore. Tamasha Festival was a 3-day theater and performing arts Festival for children and youth - presenting performances, workshops and discussion sessions by eminent national and international artists.

 

Fifteen students and 2 teachers traveled from village Thatthi Bhanguaan to Lahore to attend. This was especially exciting for the children as almost all of them had not been to Lahore previously and were staring wide-eyed at their surroundings and the differences between Lahore and their villages. In addition to the Festival, the students were also taken to the Lahore Zoo, the largest Zoo in Pakistan, and the Lahore Museum as a part of their exposure trip.

 

The festival featured several plays, dances, songs, stories and puppet shows that left the students in awe. Some particular favorites of the students were Gogi aur Jugnu ka Tamasha, a play featuring a small girl who cannot wait to grow up so that she doesn't have to listen to her parents, Podna aur Podni, an excellent retelling of a classic folk story and a puppet show  by US Entertainment warning children of the dangers of committing corruption whilst singing and dancing. 

 

As well as losing themselves in these performances, the 6 younger students also participated in a workshop called Heads On! headed by Sue Giles,  artistic director of Polyglot Theater, a theater company for children in Australia. Within minutes, the shy and hesitant children were enamored by Sue's charismatic personality and busied themselves in games and play. Noor Fatima even won a competition in the workshop. The children were asked to create costumes for themselves using just brown paper and tape and this was when our students transformed from children to warriors and princesses and fairies, all with some paper and a lot of imagination. The children were buzzing with excitement after the workshop the joy on their faces was palpable. 

 

Another workshop, Storytelling with Dialogue, was also attended by two of our students, Noor and Qaila. The workshop was delivered by Reihaneh Youzbashi Dizaji, a playwright for children from Germany, who guided the children in writing compelling and interesting stories. Noor and Qaila made us proud by creating interesting and compelling stories on common household objects, a pair of scissors and a plate respectively. It is also worth noting that in this workshop, these two girls were the only children and the rest of the participants were adults. Despite this, they were confident and bold and outshone everyone with their imaginative and interesting stories.

 

Overall, the trip to Tamasha Festival and the Zoo and Museum were a hit with the students. They immensely enjoyed themselves and learned a vast amount of new information along the way. Another aim of this exposure trip was to introduce the children to the environment outside of their villages and to show them how to properly interact with other people. 

 

This trip was only possible because of all of your generous contributions which enabled us to take these children out. We plan to do several more trips such as this, but it will only be possible with your continued support and help so that we can give more children a chance to interact with others and excel in their studies and their co-curricular.

Heads On! Workshop with Sue Giles
Heads On! Workshop with Sue Giles
Playing a game at Heads On! Workshop
Playing a game at Heads On! Workshop
Making Costumes from Brown Paper
Making Costumes from Brown Paper
Workshop on Storytelling by Reihaneh from Germany
Workshop on Storytelling by Reihaneh from Germany
Storytelling with Dialogue Workshop
Storytelling with Dialogue Workshop
 
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