Syria’s struggle

Over the past two years civil war in Syria has escalated, but who really suffers? Is it the government or the economy-when isn’t it the women and children who really suffer? The UNICEF study found that more than 110 teachers have been killed; many teachers have stopped reporting to work; some schools that are still open have attendance rates below 10%; in Idlib 50% of the schools have been damaged or destroyed. There is a need to spread this awareness of the injustices present in Syria. How children lose their entire families and become refugees of countries like Jordan that do not support the influx of refugees and these children are nose diving into a very bleak future. This is the time to be compassionate individuals to show empathy and identify with these refugees, it is important to put ourselves in the shoes of these individuals that have lost everything. They don’t have a cent to their name and are being robbed of an education.

The unrest and political instability has lead to more civilians taking matters into their own hands. However, it is in these troubled times when compassionate action can be demonstrated. An example of this is when a group of teachers in the Kurdish area of Kobane arranged accommodation and means of transport for more than 300 secondary and high school students of Kobane to do their exams for secondary and high school graduation in Aleppo city, north Syria. This illustrates how difficult situations bring out the more altruistic side of people. The teachers that organized this put their own lives in jeopardy because of the high security situation in Syria. It demonstrates how good will can go a long way and how we should be grateful for each and every amenity that we take for granted.

It seems as though the rest of the world has turned a deaf ear to the cries of the Syrian people. The girls suffer the most-in a Muslim society when a female has no male protector she is in store for a very tough life. However, like a phoenix rising from the ashes these Syrian women are a force to be reckoned with. Within this conflict lay stories of women negotiating local cease fires in Zabadani and of removing armed actors from schools in Aleppo; women delivering life-saving medical supplies despite the grave risks to themselves and their families; Stories of women in eastern Syria who worked with merchants to stabilize commodity prices so that citizens could remain in their homes; And stories of women in Latakia who convinced armed groups to permit establishment of a local civil society presence focused on peace-building. Making sure these women are heard will be key to ending the violence. They are taking compassionate action with altruistic intentions and making a difference. They are forgiving the people who have rendered them orphaned and are dealing with them in a just manner, trying to bring about a fair compromise and more over, Peace.

We must give these women their due and spread the word.


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The Compassionate Karachi Movement

When you think of a Compassionate Karachi, what comes to your mind? A city that is alive – not with the sounds of blaring sirens of ambulances, police cars and fire brigades; not with the wailing of mothers for their children lost to mindless bombing of peaceful places; not of wives mourning their dead husbands and destroyed homes and not of fathers ready to slit their wives’ and children’s throats, because they cannot provide for them. It is a Karachi that is alive with sounds of laughter and joy, that is a city of lights in its true meaning, lit up by mutual love and wellbeing of its citizens and patriotism for this soil that we call our own.

Compassionate Karachi is a movement and it is here to stay. The main motive to launch the Compassionate Karachi initiative is to make Karachi a part of the global Compassionate Cities network and be the first Compassionate City in Asia. Our mission is to start with Karachi and expand through Pakistan, making all Pakistani cities Compassionate.

The objective of this compassionate cities movement is to restore the sense of citizenship and ownership among the masses and build them into change bearers for their respective communities. We believe that this will help us in addressing problems like violence, corruption, illiteracy and poverty at a grass root level in Karachi while fostering the much needed spirit of interdependence within the city.

The movement launched in August 2014 with a theatrical event. With the help of NAPA, a play called “I Am Karachi,” was organized to bring about waves of emotion for the need of change within our society and hence provide a platform to launch Compassionate Karachi. Over 30 schools, 25 organizations and 10 universities were invited in a span of 4 days. 3200 citizens attended the event, which was an overwhelming response that only increased our drive to work harder towards transforming Karachi.

To give ownership of the movement to the citizens of Karachi we have initiated our 5 Vision Campaign. In this campaign we ask the citizens of Karachi what they envision a Compassionate Karachi to be. This campaign targets different strata’s of Karachi; the youth, working class, unemployed, retired, and so on. The movement will target 500 schools, 100 organizations, and 40 universities from Karachi. Targeting this many citizens will give us sufficient data for us to create a charter.

Based on the visions shared by all, our advisory board of prominent citizens will draft, “Charter for a Compassionate Karachi. ”The charter will be based on the 5 most popular visions we receive from the 5 Vision Campaign. The charter will be used as the blueprint of a Compassionate Karachi, the visions being the facets of Karachi that need to be improved. With the charter drafted we will commence our One Million Signature campaign – the charter will be unveiled to the public, which will mobilize all stakeholders on a common vision. The citizens will once again be called upon to learn about the charter and to sign off on it, giving their support to the visions. An Oath-Taking Ceremony will then be held in which all civil society and city leaders will be invited to declare Karachi a Compassionate City. This is where the real work starts; implementation of the charter will be through the partnership created throughout the movement. The citizens from various schools, universities, businesses, and associations, along with the government will work together to implement and adopt compassionate actions that will work towards the visions from the charter.

The movement will overall help us spread the word on compassion and engage all the city’s stakeholders to advocating and engaging in compassionate actions.

We call upon you to join hands with us in making Karachi the city we dream of.

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Compassionate Karachi

Have you ever noticed the little flower that grows in the garden behind your house? The little flower that goes unnoticed by so many people, have you noticed it, as it lays its scented petals wide open for the bees to suck the sweet nectar from the sweet nectarines? That’s been part of the beautiful world. That’s being part of humanity. And you know what a synonym for humanity is? It’s compassion.

Have you ever understood the feelings of the newspaper man while delivering the early morning newspaper without which you can’t start your day? Have you seen the way his eyes squint when the bright sun shines on his face? How the slight curve on his face causes him to look up to the sky to thank his God for such a beautiful day? It’s the love that He feels towards his Creator. It’s the compassion he feels for his Lord.

Have you noticed the children playing on the streets, with that one ball that always seems to go to the wrong side of the field? How they share their little treats with the savings that they did for days and have a small celebration of their day’s happy play? You know what sharing is? It’s compassion.

Every day when I drive around in my car, I see millions of examples of people showing love and concern towards each other, that makes me think over this fact that a US magazine ‘Foreign Policy’ has termed Karachi “the most dangerous megacity” in the world.

They surely haven’t seen the other part of the city. Compassion is in our roots. Compassion is in our rusted and infertile soil that lets those money plants grow. It’s in the sky that has a masked colour of pale blue because of the pollution in the city, but yet it lets you have a faint glance of the little stars that are fathomed in our constellations.

Compassion, is that farmer from the northern areas who comes to Karachi every winter to sell sweet potato, because the city pays him well. Compassion for us is the Edhi Foundation who says that it will be give kafan and transport to the same robbers who stole money from them, because they don’t discriminate.

Compassion for us is the mazdoor (laborer) that works in the scorching heat of the sun, digging in the ground, at the construction site, for nothing but a day’s food for his family and enough savings for his daughter’s education. It’s in the contented look on an old man’s face, as his son gives him support while walking on the busy streets of Saddar.

We have compassion in those little things that we ourselves sometimes fail to notice around us. We Karachites breed compassion in every walk of life. It’s that one plate of biryani that a group of three college students share and the distribution of food packets every Ramzan.

It’s not the feeling of compassion that is lacking but our failure to observe these little acts of kindness around us. So today when you step out of your houses, your offices or your schools, look around you; those shimmering skies and the people around you. Look at their faces and try to understand the sentiments behind their actions, and you will find it there, the compassion we all are looking for.

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Being Human

Teaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child, as it is to the caterpillar. — Bradley Miller

Why is that so? Why is it not okay for a child to squish the caterpillar to death and then go on with life as normal? Why is it not okay for a child to step on ants knowingly and deliberately? Why is it not okay for a child to relish this?

Because this is exactly the opposite of compassion. It is the opposite of being human.

A child needs to be taught that every life, be it human or animal, is valuable. And if you hurt them, they feel pain. And hurting someone deliberately is not a good thing. A child needs to be taught that she is strong but she also needs to be taught when to use this strength.

Therefore teach your child to be strong but also the times when to use this strength.

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Compassion in Education

Education is the process of learning and is the basic right of every individual. It makes a nation strong, plays an essential role in the progress of a nation and is responsible for its advancement towards success. It is the most important aspect of any nation’s survival today as it builds a nation and determines its future. Islam also tells us about education and its importance.

The education system in Pakistan is divided in three stages: primary, secondary and tertiary. Each of them has a huge impact on the lives of the students and the country.

First we have the primary education system in Pakistan is inspired from the British system which starts from nursery and ends at 8th grade. The curriculum is subject to institution and usually varies in each institution.

Next, we have the secondary system which starts from 9th grade and last for four five years depending on the examining body. It can either be Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education’s (local) Secondary and Higher Secondary School Certificates (SSC and HSC), Cambridge International Examination’s (British) Ordinary and Advanced levels (O-level and A-level) or North American Examination Board’s Advanced Placement depending on the parent’s financial stability.

Similarly, we have the tertiary or university level of education which awards a bachelor’s or master’s degree in your field on interest after completed four or five years of education in that discipline, but everyone is not so lucky as only 6% of Pakistanis(9% males and 3.5% females) are university graduates.

The government of Pakistan is bound by the constitution of Pakistan to provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age group 5 to 16 years. Here is where the main problem lies as we all are familiar with the stories of corruption in the government offices and organizations. Their greed for money and power don’t come off as breaking news to us yet we vote for them but that’s a topic for another time.

Only 2% of the GDP is allotted to the educational budget and even from this amount most is spent on the ghost schools (schools which exist only on paper) or in other words goes in the pockets of the people we “elected” as a result of which the literacy rate of Pakistan is only 60%(including the people who can write only their names). Due to the shortage of quality education the private sector had to step in to provide education to the Pakistani “awaam” (public) because no one will miss such a huge business opportunity.

Private sector schools have the best facilities and education curriculum as most of them follow the British GCE system. Nothing is free in this world applies to these “businesses” as the monthly fee of these schools start from PKR 5,000 which is more than the monthly income of most families in Pakistan. They can’t afford to send their children to these schools neither can they send their children to government schools which exist just on paper. Due to the growing inflation these lanterns are extinguished before being properly lit and sent to earn the basic necessities for their families.

The government schools and colleges that do exist have poor equipment, shortage or poor quality of teachers, outdated curriculum which is being followed since the 80’s, cheating in exams and overcrowded classrooms.

Apart from low educational funds, corruption, poverty, deprivation of quality education and inequality between public and private education sectors the problems our country’s education system is facing are gender and regional disparity.

Schools in Punjab are far more developed and up to date in all aspects compared to the schools in Baluchistan due to different educational boards, allotment of funds, awareness and provincial governments’ reforms to promote education in their respective provinces.

Apart from that, we have the issue of gender disparity which is the major problem in Pakistan. It is too dominant in the poor households of Pakistan due to which only 18% of the women have had 10 or more years of schooling. To this already low number of educated women a nuclear bomb was dropped in the form of Taliban who imposed a complete ban on women’s education in northern areas of Pakistan. 400 schools providing education to more than 40,000 girls were shutdown and 10 schools were blown which did not adhere to the deadline.

The private schools aren’t perfect and have some major flaws unlike the public school system these problems aren’t administrative. Parents enroll their children to popular and expensive private schools for social status so that they can boast about it. Instead of becoming a beacon for enlightenment and providing quality education to turn their students into better human beings schools are more concerned with upgrading their social lives. The difference between these students and the illiterate people is just that they can read and write. Apart from that they even use the same language and lack courteousness, tolerance and compassion.

The education system of Pakistan is almost non-existent and has so many issues but when there is a problem there is always a bunch of solutions to solve it.

First and foremost the education budget should be increased from 2% of the GDP to 7%. Instead of spending almost all of the money on military expenditures we should concentrate on developing the country and boosting the economy through a larger number of educated people. Only increasing the funding won’t lead towards effectiveness, a proper check and balance system must be adopted to prevent the leaking of these funds from the future of Pakistan to the pockets of our “leaders.”

It is ironic that even after 67 years of independence we are controlled by the British, not physically but mentally as we are following their system of education and paying huge amounts of money for that. Instead of developing our own system we welcome CIE to conduct exams in our country and give it more importance than our system. It is a fact that it is far better than our education system but that’s just because of our inability to produce one. We have great thinkers and highly educated people in our country we can utilize their expertise and work out an extraordinary syllabus. Hence, we’ll have a better education system.

Consequently, a uniform curriculum should be maintained throughout the country and the gap between public and private schooling systems should be eliminated. There is discrimination that private school students are more capable and knowledgeable than the public school students which is true due to the lack of resources in public institutions. After the same curriculum and educational system is followed that issue will also be resolved and the both the rich and the poor will have the same standard of education.

After all the above things are done we’ll have an issue of the shortage of trained teachers as there are not much incentives and fringe benefits to attract the educated youth in this sector. This could be fixed by increasing their salaries, teacher training workshops and making it compulsory for all the university students to teach for at least a year or two to get their degrees or graduate.

As for the women, education is not provided to them because of this false Islamic ideology fed into the people due to lack of understanding of religion that women shouldn’t step outside of homes, they aren’t the bread winners and are made to bear children and look after them. To increase the number of educated women more educational institutes should be set up, a campaign to spread awareness among the people for the importance of women’s education should be started and they should be told that Islam treats both men and women equally and orders both of them to get education.

The lingering issue of “educated illiterates” is far more severe than having illiterate people. Schools’ responsibilities are not limited to just teach the syllabus, their main focus should be to make them a better human being. This can be done by training them to be tolerant towards each other, show courtesy, be empathetic, forgiving and compassionate towards their fellows. In order for them to follow these rules the teachers and parents will themselves have to practice them. Here, we can bring in NGO’s like charter for compassion to train the parents, teachers and the students for the betterment of the society.

These are just basic reforms, not rocket science which is too difficult to understand. We are a country with NUCLEAR ARSENAL yet we lack behind from the rest of the world in terms of education. Education in Pakistan just needs to be taken seriously by the government. They should focus on the future, that is to resolve issues by the use of pen and dialogue rather than sword, that’s why military budgets should be decreased and that amount invested in education. More educated Pakistan will be more prosperous Pakistan.

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Why Karachi Needs Compassion

Karachi is a city. A city is made up of humans. Karachi is human. A human filled with passion, desire, hope, drive and courage. Yet Karachi is in constant chaos. It is slowly seeping into chronic depression. Each sunrise brings with itself a new set of horror stories. Karachi, the city of lights, is now synonymous with danger, extortions, target killings and so on. With each passing day, Karachi suffers deeply. The city is undergoing all this turmoil and; needs to be hugged tightly, not pushed away. Karachi needs compassion.

The Oxford dictionary, describes compassion as a ‘sympathetic feeling and concern for the sufferings and misfortunes of others’. But compassion is so much more. To be compassionate is to be courageous, empathetic, forgiving, humble and filled with gratitude. It is to be patient and loving. It is to understand that everyone is equally important in the grander scheme of things and needs to be treated the same way.

Karachi needs to stop labeling. Karachi is not Shia, Sunni, Pathan, Muhajir, Sindhi, rich, poor and so on. Karachi needs to learn to live with diversity. It needs to accept everyone as humans and not differentiate between who is more pious or who is whiter or who is richer. It needs to recognize all as equal individuals and not have labels divided and arranged in a pyramid with some on top for being better than the rest. Karachi needs to be humble.

Karachi is one city. The difference between this side of the bridge and that side of the bridge should not exist. If in one city there is a Lyari which is a ‘no zone’ and there is Defense which is ‘the zone’ than Karachi needs to reevaluate its humanity. It needs to work hard to make Lyari and Defense the same and that does not happen by just painting Lyari or building a shopping mall in it. It happens by invoking empathy into the people who make Karachi. It happens by making the child and adult from ‘the zone’ understand that no one from the ‘no zone’ is beneath them or less than them in any matter. It happens by making ‘the zone’ join hands with ‘no zone’ and work together to mobilize the ‘no zone’ into ‘the zone’. Karachi needs to be empathetic.

Karachi is stuck in a vicious cycle of violence and revenge. It is stuck in the past where someone was harmed and revenge becomes the word of the day for a week or so, every few months during the year. Tomorrow could be another day for revenge, but it does not have to be. In this cycle of revenge the city will burn and come to a halt. Schools and windows will be shut down, roads and streets will be empty and people will silently huddle around the television waiting to see how much the city will burn this time. Karachi needs to be forgiving.

Karachi is not a city for people anymore. It is a military urban city. Its children are growing up amongst terrorist attacks and target killings. They wonder if school will be on tomorrow; will they reach home safely; will their cell phones work; should they take an alternate safer route. They flip the channel reporting casualties in a blast without batting an eyelash; they have become immune to violence. This needs to be changed. Karachi needs to be more loving.

Karachi with its jam packed roads, its sudden rain, its hot chai (tea) and spicy chaat and its cool evening breeze is bleeding and dying. But there is a chance to save it. The humans of Karachi need to be reminded about compassion. They need to practice it naturally. They need to be grateful and patient. They need to help when they can, however they can, because only then Karachi will survive. And its survival is our survival. After all; Karachi is you. Karachi is me. Karachi is home.

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9 Life Skills Shaping a Better Tomorrow

The future of Pakistan is wholly dependent on its young population. 66 percent of the Pakistani population is below 30 years of age. Keeping this in mind, CfC started a Compassionate School Network where students and teachers are taught nine compassionate skills; altruism, empathy, forgiveness, gratitude, humility, integrity, resilience, self compassion and mindfulness; with the hope that the next generation of Pakistan will grow up to be responsible compassionate adults.

While on the surface the nine skills appear simple telling us what we have been told as children like be honest, be brave, be grateful, be forgiving; however, practicing these skills in our daily lives is by no means an easy task. It is hard to be brave when faced with a difficult life choice. It is difficult to forgive when wronged and it seems impossible to be non judgmental. But all of these things are possible and practicing them has proven to help lead a much happier and healthier life.

The rise in the popularity of yoga practice all over the world shows that our lives have become much more hectic and complicated than they were in the past. Students, employees, parents, teenagers, managers are all taking time out of their daily schedule to practice yoga. But what does yoga do? The basic philosophy behind yoga is ‘mindfulness’. It is to be fully present in a moment with no strings attached. To be non judgmental and only be fully aware of ourselves with all our feelings in that present moment. Mindfulness is also the backbone of the eight skills. Being mindful in any situation is one of the strongest weapons we can possess. When we are mindful we have the power to effectively face any curveballs life may throw at us.

Along with mindfulness it is necessary to be self compassionate. Before moving on to others we must be strong enough to accept our faults and weaknesses. Being acceptable of our strengths and weaknesses gives us the tool to deal with criticism and also to realize our own mistakes which help us grow into being a much better and confident person.

Being grateful, forgiving, altruistic, empathetic and humble are important life skills to have. They make us break through barriers like race, class, social status, and ethnicity. We realize everyone is equal and must be treated with respect and love. Forgiving someone or being empathetic towards someone makes us feel a sense of happiness that cannot be explained. It also makes us much healthier. Research shows that people with these life skills are less depressed and anxious than others and are also more confident and possess good social skills.

“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”. This quote by Nelson Mandela perfectly describes resilience. Learning this skill teaches us to get up and try once again in the face of hardships. It makes us strong and challenge the situation instead of giving up. Integrity on the other hand helps us make the right choice and be content with our decision.

Together these nine skills help us become better individuals who are capable of tackling hard situations, treating others as equals and taking the correct steps towards a better tomorrow.

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March 8 – Women’s Day

Pakistan, like the rest of the world, celebrated International Women’s Day on the 8th of March. Various articles were written, ads were released and the country seemingly pledged to respect women, appreciate them and work towards making the country a better place for women to live in.

While we were “celebrating” women in national dailies, having television specials and conferences to talk about their lives, Pakistani women continued to suffer the indignities that are heaped on their persons day in and day out. From news of a rape victim self-immolating in desperation because the perpetrators who gang raped her were set free, to a woman being buried alive- and those are just extreme cases- the trend of women being humiliated and victimized through various forms of violence continued in all its glory during March. We need only scan newspaper headlines to open the Pandora’s box of atrocities that Pakistani women deal with in their lives.

Despite paying lip service to equality and the notion of human rights and civil liberties for all, women continue to be treated as second-class citizens in Pakistan. Granted, more and more women are stepping into the professional sphere, pursuing advanced degrees and we have several illustrious women who have made us proud in the distant and recent past, and will continue to do so. We have more women taking part in political processes, more women speaking up, and more women becoming aware of their rights as citizens. And yet, all of that is not enough. For one Malala, we have countless women who continue to be oppressed and victimized; even Malala herself has not been spared the vitriol, having been subjected to all kinds of accusations.

Like most social problems, attitudes towards women are psychologically entrenched in our society- and those are the most difficult to change. How do we go about building a grass roots movement that will put into motion long-term social change? The answer will depend on how much we are individually willing to do, and how much of that individual effort can translate into collective action. It also depends on how seriously we take the problems facing women in Pakistan.

Biases start in our homes. As a conservative society, we expect women to observe certain limits and tend to treat them differently than we do men. We find these attitudes no matter which social strata we venture into.

While we cannot expect changes to occur immediately, we can make it a personal mission of sorts to do our part in changing attitudes. Starting by teaching our children, especially boys, that women must be respected and valued is something we can all do. Standing and speaking up against wrong is not always easy, especially in an environment steeped in bigotry and intolerance. However, there are several brave women who strive, often in the face of great danger, to fight for the rights of Pakistani women. It is these individuals to who we must support and take inspiration from, so we too can do our part to make this country liveable for half of its population.

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The recent famine in Thar has left over 100 dead, including children. In a country with plentiful natural resources and an abundance of food, a crisis of this kind is nothing less a case of gross negligence and oversight. It is surprisingly easy to forget the sufferings of others when one does not have to endure life’s vagaries, or so it would seem for our political leaders and government officials.

Amartya Sen, noted economist and Nobel laureate, has asserted time and again that no functional democracy can justify a famine. It is evident, then, that our leaders have failed in fulfilling their basic duties to an entire group of Pakistani citizens. The Thar famine is a crisis on many levels- the first and foremost issue to be dealt with being the famine and the medical emergency faced by the region at this point. Secondly, the current emergency aside, famines are a recurring problem in the Tharparkar area- there is one every two to three years. Despite that, no efforts have been made to deal with what is primarily an infrastructural problem. The region’s wildlife and flora and fauna had started bearing the brunt of this famine before people started suffering, and despite that no notice was taken, nor were any measures implemented.



From a dearth of food to a lack of medical facilities, from ignorance about the problem until it escalated to the point where we currently stand to the lavish selection of food at a meeting held in Mithi to discuss hunger alleviation measures- all these things reek of insensitivity and ignorance.

As easy as it is to feel hopeless in times like these, what is more important is to come together as a community and help out the best way we can. This is a situation that asks for deep introspection into why a crisis of this magnitude arose. It requires us to empathize with the parents who have watched their children starve to death while their own bodies have simultaneously been wracked by pangs of hunger. We should ask ourselves how or when we became so insulated from the sufferings of others that it took the dedicated persistence of journalists to bring this issue to light, while it was more or less ignored by the rest of the country. We’re living in times when, understandably, most people believe in an “every man for himself” philosophy- Pakistan is not the most stable of countries at the point. However, does that mean we forget our sense of humanity?

This crisis calls for widespread education and awareness about the famine and what caused it. We can stress the importance of food and other donations, and no doubt, those are critical at this point; but we also need to think long-term and start a conversation about preventing such a calamity from happening again.  There are two aspects to being a responsible citizen which are supremely important at this point: holding leaders accountable and questioning what they are doing for the people who have elected them, and being knowledgeable about our own duties to fellow citizens. Feeling helpless about the situation and playing blame games is not the answer- there is always time for arguments, but this moment calls for solid action.

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The CfC Compassionate Art Competition 2014

“Art introduced me to Revolution”– Albert Einstein

Dream, believe, achieve is the theme we carry; and in order to do that, it is very important to imagine and dream. Children learn best when they use their imagination, so this time around Charter for Compassion, along with English Biscuit Manufacturers brought forward Children Artists ranging from 6 years to 16 years to participate in an arts competition, which allowed them to dream and draw a compassionate world.

CfC Compassionate Art Competition

CfC Compassionate Art Competition

Topics ranging from random acts of kindness to courage – allowing children to draw, paint and color their imaginations, dreams and emotions. With 9 schools participating and over 400 young artists coming forward, the competition was held on January 30, 2014 at Shaheed Benazir Bhutto Park.

The event started off with an interactive story telling session about Compassion, by trainer & consultant Zohair Allibhoy, covering all nine skills on the CfC Curriculum; Courage, Empathy, Gratitude, Forgiveness, Humility, Self Compassion, Altruism, Mindfulness & Integrity. Anushe Hussain, the project lead, then announced the rules of competition and kicked off the one hour thirty minute draw, color, paint time. The teachers were not allowed to help the students and all art work created was students and students themselves.

No matter who gets the first position, every one of you is a winner today” said Amin Hashwani, President of Charter for Compassion Pakistan, addressing the students, right before the beginning of the competition. Out of hundreds of schools and thousands of students, four hundred taking an initiative to come out and draw a better tomorrow, are definitely winners.

The students enjoyed the outdoor environment and were absorbed in their art works. More than winning, the idea of presenting their thoughts about a compassionate world seemed to appeal to them. And most students, even though finished their drawings earlier than the given time, spent a time refining their art and adding colors to their canvas.

During this time, an interactive talk took place with the teachers, where they were asked about the event, changes after Compassionate School Network and the importance of compassion.

Education is Compassion,” Said one teacher, “the world we are living in possessive little display of compassion, the Compassionate School Network has helped my students develop the courage to display compassion not only towards fellow class mates but people, animals and other living things in general.”

Compassionate Art Competition 2014

Compassionate Art Competition 2014

Compassion is an important skill, it is not only to develop Mindfulness and a sense of Altruism in our future generations, but an important part of character building for our students, making them better human beings” Said another teacher.

Bridging the gap between character and education this competition provided a brilliant opportunity for students and teachers to interact and reflect on their ideas of a compassionate world, where students were divided into three categories; grade one to three, four to six and seven to ten, displayed it in form of their artwork, and teachers learned more about their students.

Volunteers from different universities also came together, actively learning from the young students and helping them with charts, water for painting and time checks.

After an hour and a half of the drawing time, judges, Nafisa Rizvi, Nurayah Nabi Sheikh, Rabeya Jalil, Arshad Faruqi, Scheherzade Junejo and Samar Hussain took rounds to select winners. Going through a complicated decision making process of forty five minutes.

Multiple print & electronic media came in to cover the event, motivating the students further to display their work.

All in all, nine winners were selected from the three categories at first, second and third positions from each category where, Ashra Adeel from Dawood Public School, M. Hassam Bhayat from Jaffar Public School, and Mohib Zafar from Beaconhouse Jubilee Campus took first positions in categories grade one to three, four to six and seven to ten, respectively.

The Navy School for Special children also participated in the competition; interesting it was to see that they managed to reach the venue a little later into the competition and finished before everyone else, producing amazing ideas and thoughts about a compassionate world. Everyone received the first prize from that school as became the unanimous decision by the judges.

The event closed on a high note, where students and teachers endorsed the idea of more events like these on a larger scale, attempting to make Karachi a Compassionate city.

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