Art is Ending Discrimination in Pakistan

Posted April 27, 2017 from Pakistan
I am very proud to be a Pakistani because Pakistani people are full of talent and courage. They have proved themselves in every field of life because we are hardworking and innovative. There is a saying in Pakistan that for a Pakistani nothing is impossible because we are, (Jugadu Qaum ), we have an ability to find a solution for every problem.

But still we are hundreds of years behind the developing world in progress. We are divided in groups and each group of people has their own thoughts and ideas. There are people who want others to follow their own ideologies at any cost. The reason of these mindsets is discrimination. The discrimination comes in the form of religious, color, cast, financial status, height, figure, structure, age, features and residential area.

I am a Christian, so when some girls join our center initially they do not drink water from my house. They do not like to sit with poor, dark skinned people and girls of other religions. This becomes a cause of hate for each other, no support, no love, no care, back biting, propaganda, blame game, feeling of superiority and inferiority complex and many other problems in the society. This happens everywhere and we can see its results on every platform in our country.

Our politicians never can agree on one thing no matter how important any matter is. Our religious clerics always try to prove that others are wrong. We can see this among children in schools and women in the houses and villages. We are suffering from terrorism and so many problems.

At Zeph education we have started overcoming this issue through art. Malee Kenworthy, who started following me from Malala Fund on social media two years ago, is a very good artist. So in 2015 she started teaching art to Zeph girls. She would give them art lessons for two hours every weekend. We have agreed on one thing that we will never talk about religion in the class and this is what we have done because talking about religion can hurt someone’s feelings.

By the time girls showed a lot of interest in painting they started expressing themselves through art. They learned from Malee how she was spending time. Every week she finds new lesson for them which is always more interesting than the one before. The girls and Malee became very good friends. Girls were not only learning to draw and paint but their thinking was also changing. They were becoming broad minded, they learned to work in team, they were not only learning about paint colors but they started to respect different colors of human beings and life. They would ask her all kinds of questions. There was no discrimination from the students after learning and taking lessons from Malee.

Then Malee visited Pakistan and they painted beautiful and colorful paintings, with her they worked together for seven hours in a day. They welcomed her like a queen. They prepared to welcome her for many days before she arrived. There was no discrimination on any base. All of them worked together.

One girl who learned art from her she started teaching art to the children in her own neighborhood who are just children. The children’s background, religion and status is not being asked before getting admission in Ayesha’s ( Malee’s student) art school.

Today when I read a story on world pulse called “I Wish My Mother Had Taught Me about Sex” by our global sister Iyamail, It really touched my heart. I thought my girls should also know about it, if their mothers cannot tell them, because talking about sex to teenage girls is like a sin in my culture, then I thought to tell them about it to save their future. So that they do not get into trouble because of lack of awareness, at this time those girls who have been learning art have said yes we should learn about it. Because art has given them wisdom to accept all the realities of life, see all colors of the world and to make a difference without any discrimination.

Art is a most beautiful way to make a change, to bring peace and to end discrimination.

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