Until less than a year ago, Sakina Bibi and Zabihullah, still in the early years of childhood, spent their days running household errands — a sharp contrast to the carefree lives led by most children of school-going age. Sakina spent her days helping her mother fetch water from as far as ten kilometres away — the only fresh water source located near their house, while Zabihullah helped his father take the animals for grazing to nearby pastures.
While education is considered a necessity for some, it remains an often-overlooked luxury for others. This was especially true for most households in village Killi Sultan Shah, a remote village located some forty kilometres away from Noshki district in Balochistan province. The only primary school situated close to the village was staffed with one teacher who taught students throughout their primary years, from grade 1 to grade 5, and travelled approximately thirty kilometres each day to get to the school. The school building was woefully run-down, and water and sanitation facilities were inadequate. The damage to the school building was grave to the extent where it lacked even a proper shelter, forcing students to sit and study outside in a battered hut made of reed. To add to the worries of the locals, the school which was surrounded by a desert on all sides was exposed to sandstorms and strong desert winds, often causing the small hut to topple over. The school children found it particularly challenging to attend their classes on such occasions, which recurrently led to classes being dismissed. All these factors contributed to the dwindling rate of school enrollment in the area.
“I enjoy coming to school now that the school building has been constructed. My mother also wants me to get a good quality education,” said Sakina. “When I have completed my education, I will work to ensure a good future for my family,” she added gleefully.