As a little boy Abdul Latif Dorai had a huge dream. Through his life he was willing to work for it to make it come true– he dreamt of a school for the kids of Lyari. The social-worker is now in his mid-forties and chairman of the Haji Abdullah Haroon Vocational Training Centre in Lyari.
Lyari is one of the oldest parts of Karachi. The school is situated right in the middle of the area, which has been the site of ongoing violence for the past two decades. What once was a breeding ground of gang violence and brutality now works on the reformation of its image. Abdul Latif showed us around in a school that has been used as a torture cell during the time of gang-war by the Lyari Mafia. Now the school serves his initial intend – rehabilitation for the youth of Lyari.
Abdul Latif, the school’s heart and soul
When Abdul Latif was a child he was made to go to work with the fisherman and was not allowed to go to school. He would watch the pupils in uniform on their way to school and admire them, wishing he could wear one himself and learn English – he never did.
Anyhow Abdul Latif made his childhood dream come true, When he finally became the father of a daughter he felt the urgent need to offer her a better future. Due to his engagement in late 2013, he first started computer classes followed by hairdresser’s, stitching and beautician courses for the girls. He also started web design classes for both genders.
The girls boxing trainer’s son is very fond of the IT courses but he doesn’t like boxing
But yet: Lyari is just at the beginning of its way out of poverty, corruption and insecurity. There are still a lot of little boys from poor families who have to participate in the family’s income. Like Abdul they help the workers to repair fishing nets. Another problem arises out of the lack of responsibility the local government shows towards the eager engagement: only 12 teachers provide their services although far more get paid to do their teaching. There is no control respectively the control is not in safe hands – yet! Abdul Latif is positive that Lyari will become peaceful and loose its negative perception through education efforts and by installing the center into an ideal place for socialization. Support for example is delivered by Vasl Artists’ Association which sends staff for teacher-training – pro bono, of course.
Above: Classes for hairdresser’s, stitching, beautician courses and web design. Below: Mechanics workshop for boys
Government High School for girls:
Meeting these openminded, wonderful teachers and inspired, optimistic children delighted and impressed us