ISLAMABAD – An English language laboratory is being established in the premises of SOS Children’s Village, H-11, Islamabad.

This laboratory would provide English language coaching classes to all students (boys and girls) of SOS from playgroup to Grade 10 using specialised English language software. Besides, it would also be used by existing SOS staff and 11 “mothers” to improve their English language skills.

The Chairperson of SOS Children’s Village Naznin Murtaza and Director Shama Khan briefed the journalists about educational activities of the village and establishment of English Language Laboratory on its premises with the help of Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Program of USAID. 

Although SOS Children’s Village was striving to provide the best education  opportunities to all its children, however it was felt that their English language skills were not up to the mark as compared to other students of same age group, living with their families and  studying  at leading schools and colleges  of Rawalpindi/Islamabad.  Their confidence level and communication skills were also not up to the mark. This served a big handicap in the early stages of their career, particularly when they were competing with such students for getting admission into professional colleges or competing for jobs, they said.  

In order to meet the deficiency in English language skills, and groom the students from an earlier age, SOS proposed to establish an English Language Laboratory on the village premises, which is now being established in the village with the help of Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Program of USAID.  Rosetta Stone Software will be used in this lab which is quite useful for fast learning language techniques all over the world. The software keeps individual records and students can progress at their own level, said Naznin Murtaza.

The English language teacher and the software staff shall monitor the progress and maintain all records. Head Start School shall be responsible for maintaining a steady supply of books for students in English at all levels, so that they can practice their newly acquired language skills. The IT support staff would also provide further training to the senior students in various software and computer skills such as basic programming, web development and other applications.

While elaborating the educational activities of children, Shama Khan said SOS Children’s Village, Islamabad, was established in July 2011 and was presently supporting 93 children (51 boys and 42 girls) who were living on its premises along with 11 “mothers”. Most of these children belonged to Azad Jammu & Kashmir  (AJK), orphaned by the devastating 2005 earthquake.

Besides taking care of their daily needs, SOS Village also encouraged the children living on its premises to pursue their education and provided them with every possible support in that regard.  Although, a proper school (playgroup to grade 10) was planned for construction on the premises in the long run, for the time being sufficient arrangements were in place for the children.

Out of the 93 children, 42 younger children have been attending the Head Start run school on the premises whereas 49 children attending the nearby government schools and colleges of Islamabad.  One girl has been pursuing her Master’s degree in Educational Planning and Management from National University of Modern Languages, Islamabad whereas one doing her Intermediate in Computer Science from a Lahore based institution. And all their education related expenses like tuition fees, uniform, transportation, books etc. were borne by the SOS village Islamabad without hurting the self-esteem of those children, she informed.