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University of Applied Sciences Karachi Organised project for working children

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University of Applied Sciences Karachi  Organised project for working children

Karachi:Poor, working children in the city will be able to participate in cultural activities through a development project for working children that Professor Dr Susanne Elsen has planned to bring this year. Prof. Elsen is the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Applied Sciences, Munich, and an expert on the subject.

After gaining decisive work experience in Europe and in North and South America, Prof. Elsen is now looking forward to beginning her next project that will be in Karachi. She was in Karachi to carry out the ground work for the project. The idea is to generate cultural and educational activities among poor children and encourage their participation in such activities of the society in an everyday context, she said while speaking to The News about the two-year project that is going to begin in collaboration with the Goethe Institut, Karachi.

Local organisations such as Tehrik-e-Niswan and the Childrens Museum for Peace and Human Rights will be the major assisting partners in the project, she disclosed. Local partners would be of great assistance in building contacts with marginalised groups of children and adolescents in the city, Elsen hoped.

The project will start with a single community as members of the project will be reaching out to the community children, meeting them and their parents. Subsequently cultural set-ups will be built both within and outside the community.

There are at least 500,000 children and adolescents in Pakistan who earn their living either completely on their own or are employed in the informal sector as waiters at tea shops and restaurants, domestic help, shoe shiners, carpet weavers, trash collectors, recyclers, etc. They are socially marginalised and have no access to cultural and educational activities, observed Prof. Elsen.

Speaking about the different phases of the project, Elsen said that the first step would be an evaluation of the current situation with documentation on film, accompanied by a social scientific analysis on the basis of both existing data as well as that which needs to be collected. In the second step, which will be based on the results, the actual project will be developed that will allow the children to artistically reflect upon their situation, she explained while adding that this creates a publicity forum that allows building structures of social economy for the children.

The German expert said that children need a public forum to, first, get attention and appreciation and, second, to have an opportunity to unfold their creativity. Elsen said that this would not be an easy task but she hopes that with the assistance of local organisations the project will become a success.

Quoting examples from Latin America, Asia and Africa, she said that for about 15 years, children in these countries organise themselves in micro enterprises and social support systems in order to form their work and living conditions. They share common experiences, articulate their needs and refuse patronising charity organisations, she explained while adding that this is a cooperative approach towards solving social and economic problems with self-organisation by working children to enforce social justice as part of the global civil society.

During her visit, she also delivered a lecture on Social Economy and Self Organisation of the Working Children at the Goethe Institut, sharing her working experience in different countries, where she also revealed that in contrast to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children, the organised working children postulate their right to work but under dignified conditions.

These children take the important step to escape from exploitation and try to generate social change with economic means, she said while adding that this way the children gain more control over their own life and their personal development as well as articulating their needs to political authorities. In this way they manage working conditions and have enough time for leisure and education, the central need in order to develop their personality and ability to face social challenges.

Prof. Elsens faculty has announced a Masters thesis for its winter semester the documentation about the situation of discriminated children in Pakistan that will be supervised by Prof. Elsen and a colleague.
If you born poor, its not your fault....But if you die poor, its your fault...."Bill Gates"