After 10 years of contribution to rural education, particularly for girls, the Indus Resource Centre (IRC) celebrated the success it had achieved over the course of a decade. To celebrate these achievements and to share lessons learnt with government and citizens of Karachi, an event was held at a local hotel in Karachi on the 25th of July, 2011. It brought together staff members and some children from IRC schools from the villages of Khairpur and Jamshoro, who played a role in the success of this organization. The programme began with an overview of IRC’s milestones achieved during the course of the last 10 years by the Executive Director of IRC Ms. Sadiqa Salahuddin, the driving force behind the achievements of the organization, sharing her experiences from the time that IRC was created till today. She highlighted that the aim of the IRC is to make all members of society equal and emphasized the importance of education especially of women in achieving this social equality.
There were many personal experiences that were shared such as of Ms. Farzana Burriro. Farzana now a senior manager of the IRC and head of the Dadu, Sehwan and Jamshoro programmes told her story and touched the hearts of the audience. Farzana is a daughter of a laborer who had in himself a strong desire to study but was unable to do so. Even with the burden of supporting a family of 10 children he felt that educating his children was necessary. This dedication to education was passed down to Farzana who completed her studies and became a teacher and an educational promoter. Farzana believed that the work of IRC had played a major role in creating opportunities in her own village. She said that the change may not be visible to others but after 9 years of work with the IRC she had noted a tremendous change in her community.
The event was brought to life with 2 theatrical performances by students of the IRC schools who had come a long way to Karachi from their villages in Khairpur and Jamshoro. The students presented theatres plays developed by themselves depicting the problems which children face living in the rural areas of Sindh. The theatre plays pointed out issues of forced marriages at a young age due to which children are forced to give up their education and also of lack of schools and teachers in rural areas. The skits were performed with a lot of confidence and emotion and it shook the crowd to imagine about the conditions in the rural parts of the country. Malika student of IRC school in Sehwan told about her journey in the IRC schools and became evidence of the success of IRC. She said that studying had made her brave enough to speak to anyone with confidence and she dreamed of becoming an airhostess one day so that she could travel around the world.
The evening continued by highlighting the many accomplishments of the IRC and sharing the stories of many of those who had been positively impacted by its work. A documentary showcased these achievements further showing that its objective of “Mainstreaming the Marginalized” was in the process and with continued efforts will one-day be successfully achieved. The words of many respected individuals such as Mr. Yunus Dagha – Senior Government Official, were full of praise for the IRC. He said that whenever an NGO is spoken of, IRC and Ms. Sadiqa Salahuddin are mentioned because of their accomplishments. Mr Abbas Baloch, the District Coordination Officer of Khairpur said that the efforts of IRC and Ms. Sadiqa Salahuddin with such dedication and attachment deserve congratulations and if more similar organizations and individuals come along further more can be achieved. The chief guest Mr. Kaiser Bengali spoke of how there is always a driving force behind success such as Farzana’s father and those are the individuals who need to be thanked. He believed that success can not solely depend upon private individuals and organizations; he felt the state needs to become more active in its assistance. He believed that we have to become serious about education and give these children something out of the education rather than wasting their time with poor standards in education. He felt that if the system is improved the people within the system could also be improved. Kaiser Bengali’s words made the problems that education faces today evident but he stated that by using valuable assets such as IRC and Ms. Sadiqa Salahuddin the objective of a literate Sindh and Pakistan can be achieved. The event left the audience with much to think about. It was a time of celebration for all the success that has been achieved by individuals such as Ms. Sadiqa Salahuddin and the IRC team but it was also a time to realize that much work is still required.