Napier Road (Part – 1)

I visited Napier Road the other day. For the “uninitiated,” Napier Road is Karachi’s biggest (and oldest and most well-known) red-light district.

After speaking to the people there, I came across three major issues. I’ll address each in a separate post (which is why this post is Part – 1). This does not imply that one issue is more important than the other or something — all three are equally alarming.

The visit came about when I came to know that one of the speakers at this workshop that I was attending had worked with an NGO in the area (Napier Road, that is). “So how do their children fare?” I asked him. I was referring to the children of the female sex workers (FSWs) in the area.
“How do you mean?” he said.
“Ummm … like, do they go to school? What kind of lives do they lead, etc?”
“Well, for starters, there are no government schools in the area,” he said.

Now while that may not be alarming in itself, and we don’t have government schools in many areas, there are several factors to be kept in mind here.
1) The only way in which FSWs can give up doing what they’re currently doing is if they’re provided with adequate education (this brings us to an issue which I’ll discuss in part 2).
2) Even though FSWs earn a lot, and can afford to send their children to private schools, they’re not able to do so (usually). I wrote about it in some detail for my newspaper. The report can be found here.

An NGO, Amal, is running a small tuition center at their office in the area. The problem is, however, that Amal’s main priority is to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and infections (STIs) among FSWs. Therefore a very small portion of their budget can be allocated to education.

To cut the long story short, is there some way in which we can get together and set up a tuition centre for the children there? Does anyone know people at The Citizen’s Foundation (TCF) and see if THEY can do something about this? Or maybe we could set up something along the lines of The Garage School?

Ideas and suggestions (and help), please?

18 Comments so far

  1. SELF (unregistered) on March 18th, 2007 @ 12:46 am

    Uzi, you are not looking for a career change? :PPPPP

    Omer would be so happy. :P

  2. UZi (unregistered) on March 18th, 2007 @ 12:49 am

    Career change? From journalism to what?

  3. d0ct0r (unregistered) on March 18th, 2007 @ 1:53 am

    you’re only worried about FSWs children … what about other childerens… those that work in factories, at mechanic shops,beg at signals and children of countless workers that can’t send their child or don’t care to send their child to school… why just think about FSWs childeren.. are all the others already literate…

  4. Moiz Kazmi (unregistered) on March 18th, 2007 @ 1:59 am

    TCF is already working for FSWS, MSWS and street children, all thr schools have a special quota for these people.
    I will talk to these aunties i know at TCF and will update u on the issue.

  5. Jamash (unregistered) on March 18th, 2007 @ 2:09 am

    I didn’t had an idea that Napier Road still had the Red Light area, I thought Zia dismantled it. I am so Glad you mentioned it, this article is really a big help for me. I am currently working on something similar, but everything is premature so I will not say much till the time is right.

    I am sorry to say but our Society conveniently give these women a particular name and banish them from being a part of our society, we consider them non existing, and their children are also treated as Dalits (Untouchables). It is our own society which writes the fate of these children the moment they open their innocent eyes in a brothel, it is we who push them into prostitution, I simply see them as true victims of our society.

    I hope NGOs like citizen Foundation and Zindagi Trust take initiatives to help these children to change their fate.

  6. Jamash (unregistered) on March 18th, 2007 @ 2:19 am

    @ Doctor
    The society will at least give the other children a chance to live a decent life, but these FSWs have very little chance to get any respect from the society.

    we know most of the girls are forced to become FSWs because they know our society will never accept them otherwise. A Gardner’s daughter can earn a decent living as a maid or a house keeper but a FSW’s daughter is a deemed FSW.

  7. UZi (unregistered) on March 18th, 2007 @ 2:29 am

    @ Doctor: Jamash’s reply is spot-on.

    @ Jamash: I think the project you have in mind might be similar to what I’m working on right now. I’ll write up a post about it tomorrow when I’m at work (because my internet connection at home is excessively sucky). As for the project, if it is the same, we might be able to collaborate.

  8. UZi (unregistered) on March 18th, 2007 @ 2:33 am

    @ Moiz: Please do, dude! And thanky! : )

  9. Jamash (unregistered) on March 18th, 2007 @ 2:48 am

    I have the same feeling, .. Will be waiting impatiently for the second part.

  10. wasiq (unregistered) on March 18th, 2007 @ 3:23 am

    My fault kids! should have accepted the job….!lol

  11. aji (unregistered) on March 18th, 2007 @ 3:42 am

    I think the dude meant something along the lines of mother theresa…

  12. UZi (unregistered) on March 18th, 2007 @ 3:46 am

    What dude? And where does Mother Teresa come in here from? Are FSWs lepers? Or are they, like, diseased in some form? They deserve to be helped — no one’s doing them any favours.

  13. king_faisal (unregistered) on March 18th, 2007 @ 3:56 am

    i actually dont even know where napier road is? also few years back avari used to be a popular hangout for russian “FSW”. i wonder if that is still the case.

  14. Jamal Shamsi (unregistered) on March 18th, 2007 @ 2:40 pm

    Check out – BBC WORLD – Program REPORTERS, Mukhtaran Mayee and her program of child education is ON — 1439 HRS 18 03 2007

    Faryal Gohar started something on same grounds, in Lahore. soemtime in 90s’ – Saleem Wahidi the then IGP Lahore was a great help to her,. But her project collapsed for reasons known to the SPONSORS of the FSWs and their vested interests.

    FG is now settled in Karachi, after a great humiliation and wastage of time & money. She is on very low profile.

    UZI & JAMASH – please gather up a team which can progress-on with succession and positivity, unfortunately am more on travel spree then being at home front, or else i would have submitted my pair of hands to work along.

    However, am willing to support child education no matter which parents they come from.

  15. Sathish (unregistered) on March 18th, 2007 @ 8:32 pm

    uzi jamash – how can we be of your help, please ASK AWAY

  16. Foize (unregistered) on March 19th, 2007 @ 9:40 am

    u know what….im more concerned abt the male children in that area who are ‘unwanted’ considering their limited requirement in that profession….what becomes of them?

  17. MB (unregistered) on March 19th, 2007 @ 5:27 pm

    First of all full marks for highlighting such an important issue. Secondly I have few points to raise here:

    Education has been one of the main issues I have tried to raise voice for reasons known to all and sundry.

    I firmly believe without good education system in place no matter how much progress we make (which in first place is not possible) in other areas, forget that we can achieve any good results, overall as progressive nation.

    IMHO education is “The Key” to first unlock the door of our issues, entering which we shall be able to identify, locate & troubleshoot other concerning issues. In fact I believe all major issues in our society hold direct relation to education.

    As for you questions:-

    – Well, yes a tuition centre can be setup but I shall repeat what I had said once earlier on KMB mailing list regarding beach cleaning that it’s NOT our duty to do that. i.e. KMB as group.

    Why? Because such ideas need time, resources & complete dedication on ones part to be honest with its cause. So If someone has the money & resources, YES definitely he/she should & do it immediately because actions are now required more than ever.

    Now the next question is: What we are supposed to do. Here is the answer:

    I firmly believe Pakistan has one of the richest people you will find & it’s evident from the way we waste money when we want to. They also read papers, watch TV & hopefully browse the internet as well. Our duty is to convince these people by our writings to utilize the money for the purposes which we cannot serve individually. If you or me have enough money to contribute then what are we waiting for, we should jump in & be a philanthropist else we should never understand a duty that requires full dedication & not just because we are good are heart & want to do something.

    Those who have the power of words should use pen, those who have money should use money etc to do their task. An example of this is from my post :

    See I cold absolutely do nothing in this case so what I did is I played my part by spreading this to as many as possible. Luckily I had KMB as platform and read the comments & see how much this act came in handy. Parvez Ahmed did contact Syed Rafey Husain.

    The logic in the end is simple: Just contribute from the way it’s possible. So in this case I am willing to come forward to do my part in the form of man power as I don’t have any money to contribute. Always willing for such ideas.

    (2) Regarding CTF, I don’t know anyone personally but their website has the info you may required

    also :

    (3) As for ideas :

    Well I have an idea. Because I lack knowledge I will put it as a question:

    Is there any possibility of having these children not require their father’s NIC ?

    Does the law has any provision ?

  18. Jamal Shamsi (unregistered) on March 20th, 2007 @ 9:56 am

    The best sponsor and support to such program can come directly from Honroable – Professor Anita Ghulam Ali – Director of SINDH EDUCATION Foundation, –

    Zubaida Jalal is Integral but INVISIBLE part of this program and very active for parentless children education specially Girls., in SINDH and BALOCHISTAN region.

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