Children of Middle School Village Nilore, Beer Valley, District Haripur
A child is always eager to tend to something: be it a pet, a plant or even an injury and will do sometimes the impossible to keep it happy and intact. Likewise, when the middle school in Nelore, District Haripur, called in RSP Saba Rehman from NMA to conduct a few activities for the students of classes 6, 7 and 8, the students showed immense enthusiasm in participation and in nurturing what they learnt.
After teaching a few basics, Saba started off by involving the children in setting up a kitchen garden. The response was unbelievable: the children took tending the plants to heart. Bakhtawar, a student of class 7th, says “we learnt the difference between sowing seeds and planting a sapling, adding compost for the plant to attain natural nutrients”.
The students planted seeds for bottle gourd, coriander, brinjals and ridge gourd. Everyone has been assigned daily duties regarding watering and tending to the plants’ needs. Emman pipes in, “but we do not give excessive water as too much is also bad for a plant. Neither when the sun is too high in the sky. We make sure we water either early in the morning or drop by in the evening to water”. “Watering the plants”, Mahnoor’s eyes light up, “that is what I enjoy the most”. While talking about tending to their vegetable patch, all the children also indicate the lessons on health and hygiene which they have received alongside, from Saba.
The children told about how they regularly wash their faces, hands and comb their hair before and after school hours and before meal times. Areeba says that she enjoyed all the lessons
Madam Saba taught them, especially the interesting stuff about hygiene, learning good manners and etiquettes, “you should see our houses, we make sure they are kept clean”. According to shy little Janat Noor “I did not like vegetables but after learning how essential they are, I make sure both my siblings and I now take vegetables and pulses as part of a balanced diet”. Lubna chipped in with her bit, “I just love chicken. But I forced myself to develop a taste for brinjals which I never liked before”, she impishly indicates her friend Aneesa who now eats bottle gourd happily. On being asked how come they have willingly changed their diet, the girls shout out “Because now we grow it”!!!
The Principal, Saima Gul, was all praise for the activities carried out by NMA and for the children’s interest in taking this forward to their homes as well. “It further shows that children learn good if you teach them good. Sporting a sense of responsibility, peer to peer learning, a sense of achievement, of spreading the messages, you name it and the children learn it”.
The Principal also emphasised the need to carry out serious messages on child rights, right to public services, girls personal health (especially on attaining puberty) and most importantly, exploitation of children, “if it is not discussed with them, then they will never be vigilant, just like our messages on health and hygiene and kitchen gardening. They did not understand it until they were told about it”.
The children of Nilore Middle School for Girls, want to spread the message to the rest of the schools that to follow a good example is sure to set an excellent example. God speed to their plans!