Your Support for Education in Pakistan

12th September 2014 - by Stephen Awre

Fr. Tomas King in Pakistan reports on how gifts from Columban benefactors in Britain are helping children and young people of the Parkari Kohli tribal people to receive an education.

The parish of St. Nicholas in the town of Nagar Parkar has been the responsibility of the Columbans since 1983 and covers 25 villages scattered across the vast Thar Parkar desert, a 4-hour drive from where the Columbans are based in Badin.

The Parkari Kholi people live a precarious existence on frontier land between Pakistan and India and are viewed as ‘untouchable’ or ‘outcasts’ by society, trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty.

Education provides young people with the opportunity to break out of the cycle and achieve their potential. With the government spending less than 3% of its budget on education and health, the task of providing education falls to the Church and non-governmental organisations.

Village Primary Schools

There are 2 small village primary schools run by the parish, with one teacher in each school. Both are in outlying villages. One is called St. Anthony’s (pictured right) and is in a village called Isai Farm. Presently, there are 22 boys and 15 girls in the school. The second school is called St. Mary’s in a village called Dothor, with 25 boys and 9 girls. The ratio is strongly in favour of the boys, but the fact there are some girls attending is in itself an achievement. These schools are new and were built with donations from Columban benefactors.

Boys Boarding Hostel in Nagar Parkar

For many village children, education stops once they finish primary school, as the nearest secondary school is far away in Nagar Parkar. A boarding hostel is the only way they can attend this school and, thanks to the help of Columban benefactors, a new hostel for 50 boys has recently been completed. In the picture, Fr. Dan O’Connor is welcomed to the hostel by the staff and students. Your gifts continue to pay for the day to day costs of the hostel and help to give Christian young people a route out of poverty.

In addition to the above, your gifts have supported the Parkari Kholi people through a water harvesting project to cope with extreme shortages of water in the desert and a health project to combat the spread of tuberculosis.

On behalf of the young people and their families, Fr. Tomas King says ‘thank you’ for the generous support you provide to Columban mission in Pakistan and elsewhere. They remember you always in their prayers and Masses.

Please support Columban mission in Pakistan by donating to our 2014 September Appeal