Stopping by a park school where Christian and Muslim children learn to read and write

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Islamabad' Park School

An incredible school is operating at a park in the Capital city’ F-6 sector; which better be called a park school. Despite being located just few kilometers from the Parliament House building, this is a school made up of about 200 children from underprivileged families.

Muhammad Ayub, the man behind this enterprise is not a well-to-do Islamabadian, but a fire-fighter at CDA’ Fire Brigade. He has been around 30 years. Muhammad Ayub Khan; commonly known as Master Ayub Muhammad Ayub Khan is an educator, humanitarian and fire-fighter by profession. He started a free of cost, open air school, when he moved to the capital city for a job. Master Ayub is widely acclaimed for spending his after-job hours and weekends teaching students in a park school. As a result of his efforts over the decades, he received the Pride of Performance award.

“My family were staying in the village and I was here in the city alone, so I wanted to do something in my spare time that would be of some use,” he says. “I brought him a notebook, gave him a pencil and an eraser, and started teaching him there and then, sitting on the ground.” The following day, a friend of his accompanied the lad. The day after, few more showed up, and so within a week or so about fifty children started visiting him in order to learn to read and write.

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This 58-year-old, fervid educationist, cycles his way to his school park every day at 3pm, after his job. As he arrives at his school, he receives a warm welcome form about 200 children, including both Christians and Muslims-all from stone-broke families. In this manner, over three decades, thousands of children have attended this open air establishment, and have passed government accredited exams followed by higher education leading them to decent jobs. What is more, children of some of his former students are attending classes.

Master Ayub recalls, his childhood and says, “My father died when I was still a young man. I was left responsible for my five brothers and three sisters. I would teach them, and also work hard selling newspapers, making bags, to earn a living for us all.”

After retirement, he intends to focus solely on his park school; dreaming of building a real school, with classrooms and computers. “God willing, within a few years, we’ll build a big school. And those students who are with us, and say they want to be like Master Ayub, one day they will.”