Fireman in Pakistan Teaches Kids in Spare Time

By Sherley Boursiquot, Epoch Times
April 14, 2016 4:30 pm Last Updated: May 22, 2016 1:18 pm

Mohammed Ayub, a firefighter in Pakistan, is saving children’s lives in a unique way.

When not fighting fires, Ayub, 58, teaches roughly 200 students how to read and write at a park in the capital city of Islamabad.

An estimated 3.6 million children under the age of 14 work in Pakistan.
— Unicef

He has been doing this for more than 30 years, according to Al Jazeera.

“I see children wandering the streets of Islamabad and think to myself how different their lives could be if they too could acquire an education,” Ayub said to Pakistan’s The Express Tribune.

(TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
(Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images)

Ayub’s goal is to get children to pass the government accredited exams and give them a chance to get into great professions.

Starting from 3 p.m., he teaches them in subjects such as English, Math, Urdu, History, and Social Studies, according to the Tribunethe same kinds of subjects that are being taught at formal schools.

A volunteer-teacher holds classes with pupils at a park in Islamabad on June 10, 2011. Muhammad Ayuh, a member of Pakistan's Civil Defence along with a group of volunteers teach children aged between 4-15 years-old, coming from poor families. (Photo credit  TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
A volunteer-teacher holds classes with pupils at a park in Islamabad on June 10, 2011. Muhammad Ayuh, a member of Pakistan’s Civil Defense along with a group of volunteers teach children aged between 4-15 years-old, coming from poor families. (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images)

Only 50 percent of girls and 60 percent of boys are enrolled in primary school in Pakistan, according to Unicef. Two-thirds of girls and almost half of boys—of those enrolled—do not complete their schooling.

It’s not our destiny to clear rubbish. We also want to be somebody.
— Student

The reasons are many: Shortage of nearby schools, teacher shortages and absenteeism, poor teaching quality, a poor school environment, family poverty, insecurity, and natural disasters, to name just a few.

But in Ayub’s case, students practically drowning in poverty make up most of his class.

(TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
(Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images)

“We’re the children of poor parents,” one student said in the video.

“Without an education we’ll wander the streets clearing rubbish. It’s not our destiny to clear rubbish. We also want to be somebody.”

Ayub, too, knows how it feels to live in poverty.

Muhammad Ayuh, a member of Pakistan's Civil Defence, with his radio attached to his clothes, holds classes with pupils at a park in Islamabad on June 10, 2011.  (TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Muhammad Ayuh, a member of Pakistan’s Civil Defence, with his radio attached to his clothes, holds classes with pupils at a park in Islamabad on June 10, 2011. (Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images)

“My father died when I was still a young man. I was left responsible for my five brothers and three sisters. I would teach them, and also work hard selling newspapers, making bags, to earn a living for us all,” he told Al Jazeera.

An estimated 3.6 million children under the age of 14 work in Pakistan. 

(TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
(Ted Aljibe/AFP/Getty Images)

But Ayub’s informal institution in the park does not stop there. He and the students collect rocks and materials every day to keep for future use:

“God willing, within a few years, we’ll build a big school,” he said.