All hope isn’t lost, yet!
ISLAMABAD, July 1, 2010: Youth is the essence of a nation’s potential to go ahead of others in the neck-breaking competition where only the fittest can survive. But men like Sarwar Hassan amply prove the notion to be wrong. These men of iron will and un-shattered commitment prove that the hands that go into creation of the states -- no matter how old and wrinkled they may grow -- are equally valuable for the welfare and development of the nation states.
Slum-dwellers, being the most neglected, are on the top of his priority list. Sarwar Hassan, 65, has been teaching 70 to 80 children of slums located in Sector G-11/1 in the open air along the sidewalk on A K Brohi Road for the last three months. Aging six to 13 years, the students assemble there for the class at 7 a.m. and study till 9 a.m. After which most of them go for earning livelihood for their families. Some of them wash cars and a few girl students work in the nearby houses as maids.
“I want these students to learn the basics of social ethics and politeness that may help them to become useful members of society as they will grow old,” he said.
Ten-year-old Israr, the most intelligent among his students, is the monitor of the class. He is responsible for keeping the disposable parts of this class (white board, marker, duster and piece of carpet, on which the whole class sits) in his safe custody, once the class is over. He loves reading and he wants to serve the nation as an army officer in the future. Out of nine, five members of his family are part of this class.
They are made to feel themselves children once more by Sarwar Hassan, otherwise most of them had forgotten what it really meant due to continuous exposure to child labour. Eight-year-old Kalsoom works in a house along with her elder sister to earn livelihood, as her father has remarried and left them.
10-year-old Hassan washes cars at Markaz G-11, after attending the class.
Rehana, Zareena, Naseem, Imrana, Mohammad Aamir, Mohammad Saheer and numerous others are also getting education and executing it in their practical life as well.
Go to them -- they greet you with ‘Assalam-o-Alaikum’, talk to you politely, show discipline and see you off properly.
All his pupils have dreams in their eyes. Some of them want to join armed forces, some want to play cricket for Pakistan, and others want to be journalists. Very interestingly, none of them gave an orthodox answer of becoming a doctor, engineer and politician.
The parents of these children are very obliged to Sarwar Hassan, and pray for his well being -- so are we as a nation thankful to him for his spirit of social service at such an age.
A retired accounts officer of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), he has also done MA Urdu and MA Islamic Studies.
He said: “It is my passion to do work for social welfare and to utilise whatever energy is left with me for the well being of under-privileged stratum of society, without any greed of financial benefit and fame.”
He further said, “Other than this two-hour of imparting free education, I have also established a library, a vocational institute for girls and a computer training centre in Sector G-7.”