By Jasbinder Minhas
It is with great happiness that we are able to share with you the wonderful news of Sikh Youth Australia’s involvement with the Peshawar School for Peace to fund the education of Sikh girls and boys in Peshawar, Pakistan.
Peshawar is located right by the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, making it a Taliban occupied zone. It currently ranks 146th on the United Nations’ Human Development Index, with a total literacy rate of just 57%. For women, the literacy rate is even lower, as only 35% of girls literate.
The Peshawar School for Peace has been open since 2014, and its aim is to facilitate gender equality and social cohesion – critical pillars of peace and development – through a good education. Unfortunately, despite the good intentions of the school and its staff, a number of circumstances meant that Sikh youth in Peshawar were unable to become involved – until now.
Although the Sikh community has existed in this part of the world for over a hundred years, they are still a minority. This unfortunately makes the Sikhs a target for random attacks and as a result, Sikh families have become extremely anxious about sending children to schools. This fear, coupled with many families facing extreme financial difficulties, means that almost 3 generations of Sikhs in Peshawar have not received a formal education.
After hearing of the challenges encountered by the Sikh community in Peshawar, Sikh Youth Australia (SYA), through its programs ‘Sikh to Give’ and the ‘Young Sikh Professional Network’ have funded the education of 10 Sikh youth for an entire school year.
The importance of the investment in our youth and young adults is something that SYA values greatly, as they are the future of our faith, community and world. SYA has committed to nurturing our Youth by providing a support network that cultivates an awareness and interest in their culture, identity, faith, and community. SYA have been blessed to see the growth and advancement of our own youth in Australia, and as a result of this, youth led initiatives such as ‘Sikh to Give’ and the ‘Young Sikh Professional Network’ have been formed.
It is through these two youth groups and their fund raising efforts that we have been able to provide support to enhance the lives of young Sikh youth in Peshawar, who may not have had the opportunity to attend school otherwise.
Collectively, both these groups raised $4000 from various activities and SYA is extremely proud of their efforts and devotion to such an incredible cause.
This funding will cover the cost of school fees, school maintenance, text books, uniforms, stationary, food, armed security, secure travel to and from school and everything in between.
Should you wish to donate to this cause, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org – no contribution is too small.
If you would like to know more about the school, please visit www.peshawarschoolforpeace.org