Children’s Literature Festival went to the small union council of Muzaffarabad in Multan on the 3rd of April 2018, and it was an amazing experience!
In the middle of the Industrial Estates on the outskirts of Multan city, CLF found immense talent and a thirst for knowledge that was uplifting to witness. Idara e Taleem o Aagahi and Oxfam Pakistan have jointly led a project for female empowerment in the region for the past 2 years. Accordingly, this Children’s Literature Festival was structured around the theme of ‘Educating and Empowering Girls: Raising Leaders of Tomorrow’. One thousand plus students from nine girls’ schools in the area participated in the day long festival and each one of them proved the important role that education plays in attaining gender justice.
High school students lifting up their tiny six year old school fellows to help them peer through the microscope at the scientific inquiry corner. Passionate fifth graders delivering fiery speeches to support their right to education. Curious twelve year olds learning about recycling and sustainability and discussing ideas for more projects. Shy eight year olds laughing with joy at being able to craft origami shapes from a piece of paper. Excited eleven year olds participating in a digital story making session. Thirteen year olds questioning literary figures about the evolutional of Saraiki, the regional language spoken by most of them. Inquisitive nine year olds fascinated by the intricate techniques used in traditional craft-making.
The CLF program takes shape on paper and it is the energy of participants that brings it to life. At Muzaffarabad, the eagerness to learn more was palpable. In a conservative Southern union council, the schools’ teachers could be seen as engrossed in the activity sessions as their students, a sight that spoke volumes about the need to explore innovative approaches to imparting education.
As the festival wound up, young girls from different schools besieged the CLF team, requesting that we be at their schools the next day, with more multi-sensory learning sessions for them: a heartwarming response that carries the CLF movement forward.
CLF will be back soon, girls!
Project Coordinator CLF