LAHORE - Some 30 children study in a room of three-marla double story house in a shabby locality of Yousaf Nagar, situated at right side of Sherakot toll plaza on Islamabad-Lahore Motorway.

A dedicated female teacher, a chair, a table, a mat, a whiteboard, an electric fan, a water cooler and a washroom define this home-school which was established a year back with the objective to provide free education to deserving children.

Since there is no government institute in the entire Shibli Town union council, the school is not less than a blessing for the poor parents having no capacity to send their children to private institutions. It is also a gift for the students dreaming high for their future.

“I want to become a doctor,” said Irim, a confident fourth grade student. Irim’s mother is a home based worker and her younger brother also comes with her to attend the classes on daily basis.

Students, from different grades, sit side by side in the class room. The teacher explained that it was because students were enrolled in the same class in the home-school from where they had left the study from private schools due to financial issues.

This home-school is a brainchild of Youth Commission for Human Rights (YCHR). The National Rural Support Programme and Small Grant Ambassador Funds Programme provided funds for the purpose. Besides free tuition, the children are provided free of cost books and stationary.

A 10-member school management committee comprising eight parents, the teacher, and YCHR staff look into the entire functioning of the school and holds monthly meetings.

Yousaf Nagar is not the only home-school in the area as the organisation established five such more facilities in these localities of Shibli Town and Shaheen Abad. Shibli Town and Shaheen Abad are two union councils, falling in Samanabad Town of Lahore. Both UCs located right side of motorways’ Sherakot toll plaza.

“The YCHR also established 15 schools in district Muzaffargarh - the third most deprived districts out of 36 districts of Punjab,” project in-charge Wajahat Batool told The Nation, while narrating the further details of the project. “These 15 schools were set up in UCs of Utra Sandila, Manakpur, Thatta Gurmani and Alurid for establishment of home-schools.”

Batool said more than 1,000 needy students were being provided free education in home-schools. The YCHR, she added, hired 20 teachers for the schools and it has been more than a year that the mission is continued.

The basic idea behind the move, according to Batool, was that the formal education due to its structured system could not cater the need of out of school or drop out children. The multi grade teaching learning approach was an answer to education of out of school children, she added.

“We are encouraging poor families to send their children into schools. We have so far distributed around half a million rupees in term of monthly cash awards to our students,” she informed.

Since the home-school is a one year project, YCHR CEO Shazia Khan has appealed the community to come forward to adopt these facilities. “We are receiving encouraging response from the people who want to adopt these schools but we decide about it by keeping in mid every aspect especially the future of the students,” Shazia added.