English lessons for slum children

by Ruth Bücker, 2010/09/15

While our team was treating patients in the slums at the shores of the river Indus yesterday, I was sitting a little apart and watched our team, the people who came in order to receive some relief from their misery and left our doctors happily. But I was not alone: about 15 children had surrounded me and they were simply standing there next to me.

Free education enhances many slum children’s prospects for leading a better life when they are adults. Photo: humedica/Ruth Bücker

I do not think this was particularly exciting or entertaining for them, but they did so nevertheless. They smiled at me, looked at me and did not get bored by simply standing there. For our mutual entertainment, I made some drawings in my notebook and they told me the English names for the objects.

English is one of the subjects the Riverside Slum Children Projects team teaches to the slum children who live at the shores of the river. Each morning from Monday to Friday the children assemble at the office building, sit down in front of a board which is set up outdoors and learn together.

Since the foundation of the project two years ago, it has been aimed to provide little girls and boys with the same level of education they would reach if they attended a public school. Though school attendance is free at public schools in Sukkur, the slum children’s parents do still not have enough money to buy school uniforms and materials.

This morning I was invited to watch one of the lessons during which the children had obtained their English skills so far. It was a sight that made me smile: children were sitting on the floor, watching their teacher and the board attentively and spending a morning just as children of their age should do.

Eating and learning together with other children brings some joy into everyday life in the slums also for little Sumreen. Photo: humedica/Ruth Bücker

For example there is little Zeinab who had already tried to teach me the correct pronunciation of the Urdu word for snake and of her name the day before. Or there is little Sumreen who had been crying with fear when a festering abscess in her face had been examined by one of our doctors, and who was now paying attention to the lesson cheerfully – with her hair newly styled for school.

There were so many boys and girls who could simply be children here, could eat and learn together, and maybe forget for a few hours that the disastrous flood had destroyed their houses and forget their and their families’ worries.

Tomorrow, our team consisting of the doctors Rüdiger and Wiebke, nurse Carolin and medical student Raphael will drive once more to the slums in order to set up a mobile hospital and treat the people living there. And I will hopefully once more meet so many brave and lively little persons.

Dear friends and sponsors, I would like to ask you to continue supporting us in order to help people like Sumreen and Zeinab. Thank you very much from Pakistan.

humedica coordinator Ruth Bücker with one of her new friends in Pakistan. Photo: humedica

Please continue supporting us by means of a text message containing the reference DOC to +49 8 11 90, or by making a donation for the flood victims in Pakistan via our online form or to the account below:
      humedica e.V.
        Donation reference ”Flood relief Pakistan
        Account 47 47
        Bank Code 734 500 00
        Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

Yours faithfully
Ruth

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