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Friday, November 4, 2016

WE-ACT, “Youth as Active Citizens Programme” #Chitral, Chapter

Dost Welfare Foundation (DOST) and its Youth Wing, Work to Empower (WE) team visited Chitral during month of October 2016. The purpose of the visit was awareness of Drug Abuse Prevention and Community Development through Community Engagement. By mobilizing young volunteers from different walk of life DOST spread its message in the community. 

Chitral valley, laying on the foot of Mount Terichmeer is one of the famous and beautiful tourist spots in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Spread over 14,850 sq km Chitral is honored as the largest district of the province. Moreover, having the lowest crime rate, unique culture and peaceful nature of the people Chitral hosts tourists most of the year.

DOST  team with its youth wing to give awareness training about Drug Abuse Prevention visited three schools in the Chitral town, including The Langlands School and college, Army Public school Chitral (APS),  and Qutaiba Public school Chitral. Over 250 students were trained beside 10 teachers. Students and             teachers were trained on Active Citizenship. The participants took keen interest in learning and twenty Community Action Plans were developed by youth groups. The participants were trained to implement this planning in their respective villages later in the coming vacations. The teachers will mentor the groups during the project implementation and may also conduct similar activities in the schools. During the programme beside the drug awareness, prevention and eradication, lectures on pollution free environment were delivered.  In The Langlands School and College Forum Theater Performance was conducted, in which students participated with full enthusiasm and energy. The focus of the performance was to highlight the effects of drug abuse on individual, family, community and at broader society. At the end of the performance students and teachers were asked for comments. The participants linked the story with issues they faced within their communities.  

In the second phase of the programme we were enroute to Parasan valley through a bone shaking road. Parsan, a valley on the lap of Kohe Hindukush, located some 35 km from Chitral town is a village of Tehsil Garam Chashma. The tough and rough road compels to think twice before moving forward, whether to move or not. Despite all the low infrastructure and the dilapidated life style the people we found more kind, patriotic and loyal. Due to lack of opportunities and negation most of the adult people and especially youth are facing drug abuse problem. The issue of drug abuse discussed in detail. 

DOST team was invited to visit local community by Mr. Muhammad Ayub (Nazim of Parasan). Mr. Ali Ahmad (Secretary to Nazim) made all the necessary arrangement possible for the event. Upon arrival the team was warmly welcomed by the elders. A group of School children from the Community Based School at Parsan sang welcome poem in heart-warming style. The school we are invited speaks volumes of being neglected. The building constructed by the locals themselves with self help based in 1999, yet awaits the basic necessities which distinct a school from other buildings; science laboratory, library and computer lab are yet to build. Boundary wall and washrooms are desperately needed for a safe and healthy setup. In his speech to the guests the principal Mr. Mir Quwat told about the problems they are facing in the school including lack of trained staff. DOST youth wing highlighted the causes, effects and impact of drug abuse on the community and on a society in Forum Theater Performance. The community participated through interventions and highlighted their respective issues.

Chitral the firstly state to approve its accession to Pakistan, has been way behind in health and development. Despite being a hard area it still looks for more sympathy, though NGO's and government had shown time to time. In the recent past Chitral remained the most affected district in the province due to global warming.  Health, education and infrastructure remain most appealing issue of the region which needs immediate action to be taken.

The event would not have been possible without the selfless support and magnacnious efforts of Ms. Carey Schofield, who is spreading knowledge in the remote corner of our country. DOST extends thank to Mr. Rahimullah, Principal Army Public School, Mr. Salahuddin focal person Qutaiba Public school, Mr. Muslim, Naib Nazim UC Parsan, Mr. Ali Ahmad (Secretary to Nazim), Mr. Shapir Khan (Political and Social Activist) and all participants and facilitators for their support during our planning and organizing the programme. It will not be just to forget the students, especially of Community Based School of Parsan valley. 



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