Our member of the board of directors, Mrs. Affia Rose Hermle, visited our School St. Peter’s English Medium High School, Okara, Pakistan in September 2022. Here’s her report:
When I arrived at the school on the 17th of September, many happy faces awaited me. The children gave me a great welcome with rose petals and happy songs.
When I arrived, it was already over 35 °C in the shade. In Pakistan, there are constant power outages and the cost of electricity has literally skyrocketed. Some classes were taught outside, others inside. The heat inside the building was unbearable. There was no relief from fans because there was no electricity. Nevertheless, many children were in the school and gave me a wonderful welcome.
In Pakistan, there is no time off from school on account of excessively hot weather. However, there is also no compulsory education, which means that the children who are in school really want to learn. This was also the case when I made another unannounced surprise visit three days later. There I realized once again how much the children and also the teachers suffer from the heat.
I spoke to all the teachers and visited all classes. In conversations with the individual children, I was able to confirm their level of knowledge.
The school building is a former factory building and urgently needs to be renovated. Especially the sanitary facilities are a big problem. The brick drinking water tank, which we had built in 2009, has now reached the end of its life, making the supply of drinking water difficult. In order to make the school independent of the constant power outages and rising electricity prices, a solar system would also be a very significant improvement.
Despite the difficult circumstances, the children are very grateful and cheerful. They are among the poorest and most marginalized. St. Peter’s English Medium High School is a real blessing for this area and the only possibility to get good education for free. The teachers are also very motivated and to my great joy one of our teachers is a former student of St. Peter’s. But more about this in another article.