KARACHI - Tharparkar-August in Umerkot is a hot, brooding month. The days are long and humid. The nights are clear but suffused with sloth and sullen expectations. There is a month of rains ahead and the water with short spells of sharp, glittering sunshine that thrilled the children snatch to play with the countryside turn immodest green.

It was drizzling when Suresh Kumar came back to his native town Nabisar from Karachi. It was a pleasant evening that was full of whispers and scurry of small wild lives. On the contrary, his face appeared to be pale yellow, thinking about the future of his 163 children.

He has been running free quality school for poor rural communities of District Kunri with the help of Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) grants and now his grants have been revoked.

He is not alone, his friends Abdul Razzak Bhutto, Ali Akbar Rahimun, Bhallay Dindo, Manzoor Hussain Bhatti are also facing same fate in terms of lack of funds for their schools. Suresh was informing them about the meeting with SEF Chairperson Naheed Shah Durani.

“I have met her in Karachi and reached the point that we have to find some other resources, in order to run our schools,” he told his friends.

All friends have no idea of how and when they announce their schools are going to be closed, putting future of more than 3,000 students at stake.

“It is happening just sudden policy shifting of SEF,” Suresh told The Nation.

According to him, SEF has stopped supporting schools and changed their policies, hence the schools are suffering and are to be closed.

“I wish some philanthropists look forward the issue for the sake of future generation,” he begged.

Ali Akbar Rahimoun, a member of AWARE NGO while talking to The Nation further added that the school was run through community and SEF help, but now the dramatic change of SEP policies have turned down all education system in Tharparkar desert.

“We have been deprived of funding since last three months, we have to pay salaries to the teachers,” he commented, adding “I do not know what happen to my children.”

“Actually they are snatching our ownership of the schools, which cannot be tolerated, we made these schools by sucking our bloods and money, how can they nationalise these schools without our permission,” Rahimon added. Another school operator Abdul Razzak Bhutto said that parents are demanding certificates of their children, so that they can get them to another schools. “On the contrary, they have no cultural and traditional values to send their children due to poverty and unemployment,” he said, adding that “On the other hand, the condition of government run schools are open secret.”

They are also of the view that if the government adopts their schools, they have no extra resources to run these schools as government run schools is already in bad shape where enrollment is not significant in numbers.

Abdul Razzak Bhutto further said that we have left our hopes, however, we have committed to run the schools whatever it takes.

Bhally Dino another operator said that we are seeking support from the civil society organizations/NGOs/trusts, working on educational sector meanwhile bridging the gap. We are collecting quick donations from like- minded friends/peoples and philanthropists.

Though despite repeated contacts, Chairperson SEF Naheed Shah Durani was not available to give the response of the department, however, a source of SEF on the condition of anonymity said that the main problem is that these operators could not go through the detail of their contacts, the SEF policies are very transparent and beneficial for toiling masses of rural Sindh.

“Most the schools of SEF have already signed the new contract and if anyone have concerns, must contact SEF representatives, they must be acknowledged” he commented adding that “let them know that the policy of SEF could not be changed, they must contact another philanthropists to run their schools, otherwise.”