ISLAMABAD - For Hayatullah and Abdul Haq, who are just 8 years old, the day commences early in the morning. Living in Faizabad (the main gateway between the twin cities), they take a wagon down to Islamabad, where they, amongst several others, begin their work of rummaging and sifting through heaps of garbage, lying on the floor, or, in dumpsters. Their large, intelligent bright eyes stare at me as I ashamedly, and, as subtly as possible, turn off my car AC and step out into the scorching heat, into their world. Flies continuously buzz around them and sit on their faces yet, the children do not flinch. Their clothes are tattered and filthy, fingers blackened and rough whilst the stench emanating from them is unbearable. The children, following their fathers footsteps have been garbage pickers for 3 years now. I dont want to go to school says Hayatullah boldly, this is easier and more rewarding. I earn Rs200 (equivalent to $2) a day he says proudly. From 8 am to 3 pm, they roam the streets of different sectors in Islamabad, and without the use of the tong (instrument used to pick up garbage), facemasks and gloves (which are must haves), these scavengers filter through rubbish in search of paper, plastic, metal and any other recyclable material. They carry this rubbish for hours on their aching, hunched backs. After having collected a substantial amount, they take their collection to a stall where they sell it to the stall owner. Maqbool Alam, a scruffy looking man who appears to be in his late 50s, is a stall owner in the affluent F-6/2 sector. He then sells this material to factories where it is reused. For the past six months, due to the situation in the country, work has been at a standstill in factories and so it is affecting us. No ones an officer for the poor, says Maqbool as he keeps chewing paan (Betel leaf). The Capital Development Authority (CDA) threatens these young scavengers and stall owners to graft money from them, or else they take away the material they have collected. In other words, they take away from them their livelihood. Jabbar Ali lives in Golra Sharif, which is set between the urban and the rural areas, as if unsure where to stand. It is situated half an hour from central Islamabad near the F-11 sector from where a winding road forks out completely transforming the surroundings. While travelling towards Jabbars village, a bumpy and unpaved road twists and turns through market places, past vast fields with cows travelling alongside a dusty area. When war between Russia and Afghanistan broke out, Jabbars family, like many others, migrated to Pakistan. Not being a Pakistani national, he argues that many facilities are not open to him and other Afghan nationals. Finding work, therefore, is very difficult, so he too, resorts to scavenging. It takes Jabbar around 3 hours to reach the heart of Islamabad, from his home, approximately 30 km away from it. With rent and electricity prices shooting up, obtaining basic necessities for the family is very hard. It all comes down to poverty and corruption. It is because we are poor that my son does not go to school and instead goes to rubbish dumpsters. No government and no charity help us, says Malaika, Jabbars mother. On being asked whether the police is helpful, she, in her majestic looking but flattered Afghan dress, sarcastically and mockingly sniggered stating how They are the worst. They take our money and if we do not give it, they threaten us and say they will lock my child in jail. Over the past several years, the number of scavengers has multiplied as poverty situation in the country has worsened. It is no longer adopted by the migrants, but by many Pakistani children as well and for the first time, one sees little girls engaged in such work also. Instead of being honoured for the environmental and social services of sorting out rubbish for recycling, they are ignored and looked down upon. They are the most prone to several diseases such as Scabies and Malaria. It is heartbreaking and disappointing to see how such hard working and intelligent children are not being provided schooling and instead, spend their days in garbage dumps. The government and charities need to provide a helping hand and support by allowing them access to their basic rights and improving their work conditions. Being so close and working in the capital city, they can be easily helped. Any charities for education reading this article, please, respond - Zainab Khan