Bakhtawar is a young girl who hails from a Syed family, a traditional revered Muslim caste/group; she
belongs to a small rural town in Shikarpur. She is a student in the fourth grade and studies at
Government School Kirri Nawaab Khan, where both school inputs (intervention I) and remedial
foundational learning (intervention II) are being provided under FCDO’s Foundational Learning Recovery
Programme, implemented by ITA in collaboration with SELD, Govt. of Sindh.
Enveloped in archaic customs, Bakhtawar’s parents, bound by tradition, made the firm decision to
withdraw her from school, convinced that her journey into womanhood rendered her presence outside
the confines of their home inappropriate. Upon noticing her sudden absence from school, the teachers
became concerned and contacted her parents to inquire about the reason. The parents informed them
of their decision, stating that Bakhtawar would no longer attend school but would stay at home to
attend to domestic chores.
The teachers counseled Bakhtawar’s parents about the importance of education for girls and boys. They
emphasized that girls who receive education lead healthy, safe, and productive lives, and are better
equipped with skills to tackle multiple challenges in life.
The teachers successfully pleaded with the parents, who agreed to allow Bakhtawar to return to school
on the condition that she wears a ‘Hijab’ and leaves 15 minutes before the last school bell, accompanied
by her father. The timely action of the teachers made it possible for young and passionate Bakhtawar to
continue her education and attend school like her other friends. However, she had no knowledge of
menstrual hygiene and was uncertain about the materials to use during this time.
Fortunately, during that period, she received back-to-school kits and dignity kits at her school. Initially
hesitant to use the kit, she was curious to know if it was safe to use. She shared her concerns with the
child safeguarding officer, as she was close to her. Upon sharing all these matters, the child safeguarding
officer held a session with all the adolescent girls of the school where she demonstrated the use of the
kits and explained how the pads are convenient to use. Bakhtawar felt relieved and happy to receive the
kits, which further strengthened her decision to return to school.
Since Bakhtawar had already missed numerous classes, she was struggling to catch up. Recognizing her
predicament, the teachers devised various techniques, such as TaRL (Teaching at the Right Level) and
CAMAL (Contextually Appropriate Means of Assessment and Learning), to ensure her inclusion and
engagement with her friends and classmates. They used interactive games and hands-on activities as
teaching tools, aiming to foster her learning and help her reconnect with the rest of the group.
When asked about her aspirations, a radiant smile graced Bakhtawar’s face as she shared her dreams of
becoming a teacher. In that moment, the depths of her resilience and determination became evident.
Her journey is one defined by the tender care and guidance of her teachers, the unwavering spirit that
flickered within her, and the transformative power of education. It is a story that speaks to the inherent
rights of every child to learn, dream, and aspire, highlighting the vital role that teachers play as
defenders of those rights. Bakhtawar’s tale serves as a poignant reminder that within each young soul
lies a gift, deserving of protection and entitlement, propelled by hope, courage, and an unyielding thirst