A nine-year-old boy’s dream came true on Monday when he got to attend school for the first time in his life.
Muhammad Soomar Chandio’s parents cannot afford to educate him but that didn’t stop him from chasing his dream. The boy sold sweets in the morning and studied at a library in the evening.
A picture of him studying in the CSS hall of the Shahnawaz Bhutto Public Library, with a basket of sweets lying beside him, went viral on social media.
The managing director of Larkana’s Eastwood Grammar School, Ahsan Ali Abro, saw the Facebook post, and reached out to people to help him find the boy.
“I was moved after seeing the picture,” Abro told SAMAA TV on its morning show Naya Din on Thursday.
A social activist helped him find the child. Abro met the boy in the library and checked his copies. “I saw potential in the kid,” Abro said. “The child wants to join the Pakistan Army,” he added.
A meeting was arranged with the child’s parents the next day to ask their permission. He lives in Labour Colony. Abro realized that Soomar’s parents were not aware of his studying sessions at the library. “He did not tell his parents about going to the library because he was scared they would scold him,” Abro said.
He successfully convinced the boy’s parents but they only had one concern: money. As Soomar brought home money by selling candy, they worried that his education would create more financial problems for the family.
No alternate source of income has been arranged for the family yet, but Abro said he is trying to arrange an evening job for the child, which would not be considered child labour.
Soomar told SAMAA TV that he is very happy to go to school, and that he is the first child in his family to get an education.
“We are very poor and I have four brothers,” he lamented. “My father is unemployed.”
He appealed to the government to support his family financially. “Those who help the poor, God will always keep them happy,” the child said.
Shortly after Soomar’s pictures went viral on social media two officials of the Sindh government said they wanted to support him. Then education minister Sardar Shah said he would adopt the boy’s expenses.
I’d love to adopt this Boy,bearing all his expenses and ensuring enrollment forthwith.Already asked my Team at Shahnawaz Library to contact with the family.v need to share the burden of those parents who can’t afford and encourage others to enroll their kids in #GovtSchools
— Sardar Shah (@sardarshah1) August 9, 2019
Barrister Murtaza Wahab, the Sindh chief minister’s adviser on law, environment and coastal development, also said he wanted to help.
This is a powerful image. The fact that despite all odds this kid is holding on to pen and booms shows real determination, im looking for contact details of this boy & im willing to share the responsibility with @sardarshah1 of this kid. https://t.co/NVK0aphGgr
— SenatorMurtaza Wahab (@murtazawahab1) August 9, 2019
But neither official has reached out to the boy or the school to pay for his expenses. Abro said that he is handling the boy’s school expenses himself right now. They both tweeted about helping but haven’t been in contact yet, he said.
But even if they do offer to help, they might want to enrol him in a government school and I would rather he be enrolled in a private school, Abro told SAMAA Digital.