In Arabic, the word Qu’ran literally means recitation. Our students in Pakistan recently did just that, as they took part in speaking competitions designed to help the students gain confidence and compete with peers in a positive way.
School is back in session after the Eid holiday. Eid is a holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Our students are glad to get back to school, partly because of the fact that many of them work to help support their family during the summer. “We like to go to school because at home, we have to work very hard, but in school we have studies and time to play.”
The recitation competitions were designed with that in mind. “[The competitions] are held to refresh the kids,” teachers said. There were two competitions recently. The Qirat competition, in which students recite verses from the Qu’ran , and the Pakistan Memorial Day speech competition that took place on September 6. Typically, teachers hold small competitions like these throughout the year. Sometimes students receive small prizes like erasers or notebooks.
The teachers were very excited to see students come back. “We worry about drop-outs a lot—students are our focus point and [to see them] drop out is shocking for us.” However, the teachers also spoke about the rewards of seeing students improve. “Teachers are the spiritual parents of students; they feel like their real biological parents about their success.”
Parents of our students are also looking forward to the start of school. One student said, “They feel very happy, because they don’t want to see their children face the same problems they have faced with illiteracy.”
Barakat’s work is important for exactly that reason; so that the children our programs reach out to will not be stuck in the same cycle of illiteracy as their parents. Our students are in school, and Barakat’s mission to support education continues.