A School In Heera Mandi Teaches Compassion To Children Of Sex Workers
At Learning Hubs, it’s like that the terms marginalized, underprivileged, the have-nots never existed. There are superheroes at the center stage of life, redefining humanity and hope. Learning Hubs is a safe haven for children belonging to dancing girls, musicians and those at risk of being exploited, as they live in an area termed as mini Heera Mandi. It is an offshoot of the Heera Mandi – a red light region near Taxali Gate Lahore, where prostitution has been practicing since long.
In the 1980s, during the crackdown, many families migrated to this area and started businesses here. Almost two years ago, many of these Children used to fight with each other on streets, they even used abusive and foul language. When the school was established, we did not envision what we see today. At Learning Hubs, the children of sex workers have been given a chance to get quality education, and an environment for their grooming just like other kids. Most of these children, miss their fathers, grandfathers, granddaughters; that’s why to build relationships we invited the residents of Chaon Old Home. Due to a strong bonding, next time the kids went to the old home and played with the old people there.
In a student council meet-up, a bunch of kids passed a resolution to adopt old people as their grandparents. After seeing this love, Learning Hubs decided to invite the newly made grandparents to the parent teacher meeting, and what happened after that is nothing short of magic. Children collected money to buy ingredients for the grandparents’ favorite dishes. The mothers of the children cooked in Learning Hubs’ community kitchen; every child wanted to assist their mother in cooking. Then, the children dished out the food and served it.
After having food, both children and aged people had conversations, a dialogue of a father abandoned by his son with a child abandoned by his father is worth mentioning here. A little girl whose mother left her a few weeks ago was holding the hand of an old blind woman. A boy with no identity documents was shouldering an old resident who somewhere along the line had lost his identity.
Learning Hubs is not a school or a health center or a food or craft hub it is a lens, from where one can see humanity in its finest moments.
Zerka Tahir is founder SID (Sustainable Intervention Drive)