Adult Literacy Program in KKA
By Dr. Atiya Khan
“Smiling beautiful faces,
bright eyes, extruding excitement
and joy in every gesture…”
This is not a description of a group
of children in an amusement part,
but of a group of women attending
a basic adult literacy class.
had arrived here with Kaneez Fatima,
who is in charge of the educational
cell of HDF. We visited this class
unannounced. It was taught in a dimly
lit room in a modest house in Karachi’s
Kachchi Abaadi.. I had not expected
the students to be as joyful and eager
as they were.
There were seven women in the class.
Their ages ranged from 23-40-years
old. All of them were ready to show
Kaneez Fatima and me what they had
The students came from a variety
of different backgrounds. One of them,
a mother of five, had left her seven-month-old
infant at home with her husband. Another
student was the mother of four children,
two of whom she still supported. A
third student was the mother of the
This class’ teacher also teaches
one of the early-morning kindergarten
classes. She has an F.A. degree and
completing her B.A. at a local college.
The mother of the seven-month-old
began reading for us: “Bashir
ek kisan hay. Bashir buddha aadmi
hay.” She then burst into laughter
and hid her face in her shawl, her
face totally red. I could not understand
what had happened. Another woman then
told me that Bashir is the woman’s
husband’s name. We all laughed
with her then.
I asked the class why they wanted
to read and what they will do with
this ability. They all wanted to reply.
One woman said, “Everyone makes
fun of me because I am so old and
can’t read. I am “Buddha
tota [parrot]” But I will continue
to learn to read…Now that have
started to learn, I don’t have
to ask people what number bus is coming--I
can read it for myself.”
Another woman said, “I am helping
my child do his homework. This way
I don’t need to hire a tutor
A third woman replied that she was
now able to read the television listings
and find out when women’s programs
“I can read about my choices
of birth control,” added another.
All of the students seemed to feel
so accomplished and confident. For
this reason our visit to their class
was the best experience I had during
my stay in Pakistan. If for nothing
else, we should all continue our support
for HDF in order to fund this class
and others like it.
Date/Time Last Modified: 1/27/2003 12:51:51 PM
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