By Mehwish Azam
ISLAMABAD, Aug 14 (APP):Some thirty years ago, a diligent Pakistani, Muhammad Ayub from Islamabad decided to change the world with simple yet most effective weapon; Pen. He started off his journey with the simple conversation he had with a car washing boy in the slums of capital.
“Why don’t you study?”, he asked. “My parents are poor so I work”, the kid replied. “I’ll teach you”, said Master Ayub and brought him a notebook, a pencil, an eraser and started teaching him on the roadside. Next day, the kid brought his friends and then the next day 5 more children came to Ayub and he welcomed them with open arms and thus initiated the journey of commitment, hard work and selflessness.
Within a week, the number of students reached up to 50 and it has been growing till date. Many of his students work in the morning to support their families and come to school after 5 in the evening.
Muhammad Ayub alias master Ayub has been moving to many places such as outside of shops or in the parking of some government school but most often authorities asked him to pack up.
Talking to APP, Ayub said this journey has not been an easy one. “Many times I had to change the place because of objections from influential people living nearby or shopkeepers complaining about us being a hurdle in their business”, he added.
He finally shifted to his current location in the park, which is adjacent to some of the most expensive houses in the city but also near a slum where minority Christian families reside as most of his students are christian kids.
He said, “In the beginning I was teaching alone. Then gradually, my old students started coming along. Many college and university volunteers also started to teach English and mathematics to 10th graders”.
Hundreds of these students have passed out of high school while many of them have gained Master’s degrees as well. Asiya, a municipality worker, has been attending Ayub’s school for ten years and finally got a respectable job to earn her livelihood. Abid Ali, another old student, has been taught by Master Ayub and now was volunteering at the school in the evening alongside his masters degree from Quaid-e-Azam University Islamabad.
Saniya Morris, 15, said that she loved coming to take these classes. “I have many friends here. We learn together and try to beat each other in grades. I want to be a fighter pilot in the Pakistan Air Force”, she said. After taking lessons from her Maths and Science teacher, she also helps out by teaching younger students of junior grades.
Master Ayub said that in order for our country to prosper, we have to give proper education to our coming generations.
“Education gives you hope and understanding for the future. It is the light that we carry towards hereafter. My sole motive behind creating this setup was to prevent these kids from falling into wrong hands such as criminals or terrorists”, he said. Ayub hopes that his students will continue his legacy of teaching the poor kids to make them prepare for the world and its challenges.
He got his much awaited recognition including awards by the ministry of education in 2012 and a presidential award in 2015. In 2018, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom (UK) also recognized Master Mohammad Ayub as the 54th Commonwealth Point of Light in honor of his exceptional voluntary service for improving education and opportunities for the young people in Islamabad.
At this school, besides teaching, many extra curricular activities also take place. Every 14 of August, these kids prepare national songs and anthems and get dressed in flag colored – Green and White attires – to celebrate independence day with enthusiasm. Many NGOs and university students attend this little annual celebration at the school and appreciate the work and effort being put in by the teachers as well as the students.