Monday, May 25, 2015

FRHD bring to light issues of street children

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

A consultative dialogue meeting with street children was organized by the Foundation for Research & Human Development (FRHD) at Beach Park, Clifton, Karachi, as a part of the Global Action Week: Education for All programme.

A group of 25 street children, representatives of civil society, school children and teachers participated in the event. The aim of meeting was to urge the state took serious measures to provide shelter, health and education them accordingly existing domestic laws. 

The literacy rates among children working and living on the streets is very low during the consultative dialogue street children group shared that poverty, corporal punishment and forced begging were some of the major reasons children working on the streets have dropped out of school. 

The majority of vulnerable children disclosed that they had left school because of their family's economic status. Incidences of corporal punishment, violent behavior of peers and others also played their part in expediting dropouts from schools. 

Upon inquiry, they stated that neither did they want to enroll in school nor would their families ever let them, given the fact that they believed earning on the streets trumped educating a child. The FRHD estimates 1.5 million children on the streets of Pakistan's major cities with poverty, unemployment and other economic issues and floods of 2010 and 2011 having contributed increasing number of street children in the country. 

“A study on street children revealed that 56.5% of the children interviewed in Multan, 82.2% in Karachi, 80.5% in Hyderabad and 83.3% in Sukkur were forced to move on to the streets after the 2010 and 2011 floods. According to UNODC, 72% of the working children do not have contact with their families and 10% have no knowledge of their families,” Nazra Jahan, Executive Director, FRHD, revealed. 

She reminded that the laws prevailing to address the issues, the Sindh Children Act 1955, make the state responsible for providing custody and protection to children whilst also punishing parents and guardians who will fully neglects and abuse children. 

“The Sindh Child Protection Authority Act 2011 entailed specific provisions for child protection in the province of Sindh under the authority formed. It shall have powers to coordinate, monitor, support and establish mechanisms for all child protection issues in the province. The Sindh Right of Children to Free & Compulsory Education Act 2013 protected the right to education of every child aged 5 to 16 years,” Nazra Jahan added. 

The FRHD official felt that instead of overburdening in the sense of introducing legislation, the state should take measures to implement the existing laws for protecting the human rights, it’s a very essential obligation. 

The Programme officer Devcon, Shafiq Kandro, observed that the street children in Pakistan form a very young age group, some being no older than four years of age, and are engaged in menial jobs that do not require vocational training. 

“Moreover, these jobs offer no opportunities for advancement or improved lifestyles in the future. Many survive by prostituting themselves, stealing or smuggling and are vulnerable to a number of diseases including STDs and health ailments that are a direct result of their occupations and unsanitary conditions of workplaces,” she concluded.

Mirpurkhas Mango Festival to boost small growers

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, would distribute prizes at the concluding ceremony of three-day Golden Jubilee Mango Festival being organized at Mirpurkhas on June 6. 

Provincial Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Dr Sikandar Mendhro, will also attend the Mango Festival which will be inaugurated by Senior Provincial Minister for Education, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, on June 4. 

This was announced by Deputy Commissioner, Mirpurkhas, Rasheed Ahmed Zardari, after having presided over a meeting to review the festival arrangements held on May 21. He revealed that the Mango Festival would be held at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Exhibition Hall (Fruit Farm) while the concluding ceremony has been scheduled at the auditorium of State Life Building. 

According to him, the festival is being held for the betterment of small growers and urged the growers to attend the even in large numbers. 

The Deputy Commissioner urged the Festival Management Committee to motivate small growers to set up their stalls at the festival to promote better environment, style and attraction. He said that apart from Mirpurkhas, the growers belonging to other district including Matiari, Hyderabad, Tando Allahyar and Nawabshah would also be invited to set up mango stall here. 

The meeting was attended, among others, by Addl DC-1 Muhammad Usman Mehsood, Chairman Mango Management Committee Mango Festival Haji Umer Bughio, Deputy Director Agriculture Yar Muhammad Khaskheli, members Mansoor Chhema, Choudhry Ehsanul Haque, Fazal Illahi Memon, Mir Zafarullah Talpur, Karim, AC: Shujabad Abdul Hafeez Laghari, Faukh Anwar Gondal and others.

Mirpurkhas to host Golden Jubilee Mango Festival

By Abdul Qadir Qureshi
(Pakistan News & Features Services)

Deputy Commissioner, Mirpurkhas, Rasheed Ahmed Zardari, has vowed to make the upcoming Golden Jubilee Mango Festival a successful event to attract the exporters side by side with the small growers. 

"The festival would help in developing the mango farms on modern lines with increased mango exports to other countries,” he said while chairing a meeting of the Family Musical Programme Sub-Committee formed in connection with Mango Festival to be held at Mirpurkhas from June 4 to 6.

Rasheed Zardari remarked that mangoes of Mirpurkhas are an iconic symbol of this area and famous for their taste and variety not only in Pakistan country but in many world countries. He called upon the district administration and citizens to play their role in introducing the symbolic mangoes of Mirpurkhas. 

He described the Family Musical Show an important part of the Mango Festival and said all of them have to play their respective roles for its success. He informed that the Musical Show and the Family Festival would be organized at Police ground in order to provide entertainment for children and woman folk. 

He stressed that strict security arrangements would be made at the Police ground during Mango Festival and Rangers would be deployed alongwith police for the purpose. 

The Deputy Commissioner advised the Secretary of the Mirpurkhas Arts Council, Raees Ahmed Khan, to keep the museum open on the occasion in order to provide entertainment and create an awareness among more and more people about the cultural heritage. He also directed to make arrangements for floats to manifest the importance of Mango Festival. 

On the occasion Assistant Commissioner Taluka Shujabad and in-charge Family Musical Show, Abdul Hafeez Laghari briefed the meeting and said that famous singer and comedian Ahmed Mughal, singer Deeba Sahar, Marul Group, Shafi Faqeer, Mistri Jogi, Khushboo Laghari, Liaquat Faqeer and local famous singers would perform at the Family Musical Show. 

The meeting was attended by Mango Festival Sub-Committees members Karim Memon, Mansoor Cheema, Raees Ahmed Khan, S A Khan, Mirza Masroor Baig, Aftab Qureshi, Additional Deputy Commissioner-1 Usman Mehsood, Assistant Commissioner and Chief Municipal Officer Arshad Qayoom Barki, AC Shujabad Abdul Hafeez Laghari, Jamil Ahmed Khan, Azhar Abbas, Furqan Ali, Choudhry Rafique Aamir and others.