Dear Donors, Supporters and Friends,
I just returned from spending a week at our primary school in the village of Khairo Dero, district Larkana, southern Pakistan and wanted to share the experience with all of you.
Suddenly, in a matter of just months, the village is filled with hope and joy rather than the hopelessness and despair that enveloped it for so long. The texture, color of the village has changed. Everyone can feel it and see it.
I walked through the village in the early morning and mothers were washing their children’s hair, smoothing down their dresses. Fathers’ eyes had softened as they carried the little bag, the little thermos flask and walked their child to the school. I stood outside the school gate and heard screams of laughter and the pounding of little shoes. And when I looked back toward the town, I saw dozens of children running to school, holding hands, laughing. Running. They weren’t late. They just couldn’t wait.
And how clean they were! I couldn’t believe that these children, who always roamed the village barefoot, their feet encrusted with dirt, their clothes brown with dust, their hair matted and their noses running were so well dressed, so clean.
When their teachers arrived, they rushed to form assembly lines. They put out their hands and opened their little mouths because they knew their teachers will inspect their nails, ask if their teeth were brushed. They all now owned toothbrushes for the very first time.
In assembly, one little boy led the morning prayer, a little girl recited a poem, a group of friends sang a song and then they all roared out the national anthem. When the bell rang, in perfect lines they walked to their classrooms.
We brought gifts of pencil boxes, crayons, pencils, rulers, and a thermos flask for each child. It was heartening to see how not a single child moved from her seat when we distributed the gifts; these were the same children who in March caused a stampede at a party when we tried to give them presents. Each child smiled and said thank you. And the next day I came to watch them arriving at school and each child had their little thermos dangling from their shoulder; one told me she felt just like a child from the movies because children on TV always carried thermos flasks. Her name is Moomal, she is five and plans to become a doctor.
Mothers joked that their children were now lecturing them about washing their hands, bathing, changing their clothes. The teachers were beaming with pride and they are truly such heroes. They brave these scorching days without electricity and lovingly attend to each child.
Several parents wanted to enroll their children in this school. They said this was the best building in the whole district and if their kids went to school there, they would make a future for themselves.
Your generous contributions and unwavering support made this project possible for the Ali Hasan Mangi Memorial Trust and we are deeply thankful to you. Your generosity has opened up a whole world of possibilities for the children of Khairo Dero.
There is still a long way to go. We would love to be able to start a second primary school and then a secondary school for these children. And of course we hope to forge ahead with our plans to build a second sewerage treatment unit, begin our low cost housing project and start the community park.
As always, we look to you for your continued support and encouragement as we raise funds for our new projects.
Thank you, as always, for caring.
Warmest regards and blessings from the people of Khairo Dero,
Naween A. Mangi