KARACHI: The Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) Wednesday clarified the factual position in response to a news circulating in the media. The SEF said that with the advent of the dreadful incident of baby Zainab and with the history of the vulnerability of the vicinities of mazars and shrines in Sindh along with increasing trends in beggary near landmark locations, the Sindh government had constituted and notified a committee with a view to examine the issue of increasing trends of begging by children in and around mazars, lakes and subsequently other shrines etc.

The broad objectives were to facilitate rehabilitation and schooling & training solutions for children / adolescents while exploring the most viable solutions for addressing the issue of footpath schools in the province in general and area surrounding Abdullah Shah Ghazi Mazar (Karachi), vicinity of Qalandar’s Mazar in Sehwan and proximity of Manchar Lake, initially as test cases.

The committee was tasked to examine the options on incentivizing students and determine the most suitable option of providing the students with small meal components of basic need items etc. given their special requirements and also to negotiate with the organizations, parents, communities that could help in rehabilitation of students.

The committee was also tasked to look into the availability of possible options for bringing children of footpath schools to the fold of mainstream education, which in pursuance of its TORs held its first meeting on 29th January 2018 with a positive intent to move forward and work together with civil society. The School Education & Literacy Department offered for providing a full school building to accommodate education of the students presently enrolled in the footpath school at different locations in the nearby schools starting with the ‘Footpath School’ run by M/S Ocean Welfare Organization in front of Abdullah Shah Ghazi Mazar, for necessary arrangements i.e. Teachers, furniture and text books and the budget will be provided.

The government is willing to work together with M/S Ocean Welfare Organization and build good relations with the communities and vulnerable children so that a formal education platform is provided to these children in order to secure their future and avoid any accidents / incidents that can threaten the well- being of these children. The government intends to provide a more appropriate mechanism for rehabilitating the students coming from special circumstances.

Representative from M/S Ocean Welfare Organization suggested to get a written proposal / intimation from the School Education & Literacy Department which will be examined by their Board, the clarification concluded.