March Issue 2018

By | Newsliners | Published 4 months ago

A vibrant and lively set-up for the two-day Badal Do! Teacher’s Expo 2018, held at the Beach Luxury Hotel on February 24-25, drew in large crowds of families, educators and activists. A new learning initiative, Badal Do was launched in 2017 by a partnership of eight like-minded civil society organisations — Teacher’s Resource Centre (TRC), Children’s Museum for Peace and Human Rights (CMPHR), AzCorp Entertainment, Pakistan American Cultural Centre (PACC), Society for International Education (SIE), Mind Map Communications (MCC), The School of Writing (TSW) and Beyond the Classroom — with the intent of making teachers the driving force behind social change by equipping them with the skills necessary to act as advocates of peace, diversity and tolerance within the classroom.

The expo was a celebration of a year’s completion of the learning initiative’s journey in changing Pakistan’s education sector for the better. Badal Do has worked with nearly 200 branches of schools and trained over 400 teachers in the four core values of the programme — critical thinking, character-building, civic responsibility and cultural engagement. “It is an attempt to understand, respect, value differences and live in harmony, as we believe teachers can become agents of change,” said Rumana Hussain, Member, Executive Board of the I AM KARACHI (IAK) movement.

Spirited ushers helped families navigate through the stalls set up by the Oxford University Press and Paramount for books, and paraphernalia designed specially to help create conducive learning environments, such as Playfurn’s customised furniture for children, Sabaq Foundation’s video lectures for students, and Learning Time’s early learning products, in the form of books, video games and tablets for children in multiple languages.

Teachers were encouraged to bring their children, who flitted between the performances and the designated play-area that had activities with AzCorp Entertainment’s comic series characters, Sheeba and the Private Detectives. The expo had also collaborated with home-based cooks in providing refreshments and food at the venue.

The attendees and alumni were gifted captivating travelogues and catalogues to take home. Additionally, photo exhibitions, film screenings and panel discussions were held which documented the Badal Do! journey, their training programmes and projects and achievements of the alumni. Heads of schools were awarded shields on the first day by politician Shahnaz Wazir Ali and qualified teachers were given certificates.

Principals of Nasra Public School and Stanmore Public School addressed the audiences in between the panel sessions. Much like the TED Talks, these  were designed to encourage teachers to share stories of their own experiences in overcoming hardship and in changing their lives for the better. “We want to keep up the momentum by continuing our interaction with teachers, and increase our interaction with students in the implementation of civic responsibilities,” said Rashida Faheem, member Board of Directors of the Karachi Down Syndrome Programme (KDSP).

Also, forming part of the programme were enthralling performances by Zambeel Dramatic Readings, Tehrik-e-Niswan, and musicians from IAK’s Music Mentorship Progamme.  The expo also had an impressive line-up of speakers comprising former information minister Javed Jabbar, journalist Zubeida Mustafa, activist Sheema Kermani, writer Afia Salam, founder of the Pakistani Women’s Media Network, Tasneem Ahmar, journalist Wusut Ullah Khan, and the founder of Bolo Bhi, Farieha Aziz. The expo covered a holistic range of issues, highlighting what had been accomplished, and what could be done in the future.