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Friday, 5 October 2012

300 disenfranchised students of Mardan have had no access to educational facilities since their school was burnt down

Children at St Paul's School Mardan now have no school resources and feel very unsafe.

Shamim Masih met with Bishop Majeed and school teachers to see how we (wider Christians) could help.

Islamabad Pakistan (Shamim Masih):  

St Paul's School in Mardan has not been able to provide educational services to the 300 children that have been attending their school, since the fire to their school building and the local church.  

A Muslim mob numbering in its thousands looted the school and church during their destructive rampage of these Christian institutions, following the release of an anti-Islamic movie in America.

Students included a wide diversity of children including manyof an Islamic background, say's the school.

Eleesheba a school teacher, who lives in the church compound said;

"During the attack these extremists burnt everything,  Our building was destroyed even the metal in the structure has evaporated. This attack seems contrived, it was not a a sudden attack.  What they did is unforgettable. We thank God we managed to escape from the building."

She added;

"In parallel to routine curriculum study we have been teaching on tolerance and community harmony as a priority. There has been no discrimination amongst our school students and many were of a Muslim background. Now our students are terribly frightened and many fear returning to their classes. I do not  know how much time it will take to regain their confidence and initiate classes"

Saadia Manwer, a Sunday school teacher is worried about what she terms an 'alarming situation'. She said;

"We normally have a huge attendance of more than 100 Christian children at Sunday school, during our regular church service. Since this incident we have been unable to hold these classes due to a lack of  helpers.  We have now got the volunteers to start again but have no resources as they were all burnt in the fire.  We are hoping that churches in the global community might donate Sunday school material, so that we might start again.  We would be extremely grateful."

Raaima, an 8 year old girl, bitterly wept when asked about the incident, she said;  

"It was horrible. These evil people burnt our toys they have not even left us any chairs  to sit on."

Meerab, a girl of 9 years said; 

"I will become a doctor and will serve my people."

Nirmat, a teenage girl of 12 years who fortunately escaped the attack, said; 

"I  was so scared and just feel like crying, I felt helpless during the attack"

Shamim was brought to tears by the accounts from the Children and other victims of this incident.  In the aftermath of the attack in Gojra he had visited the area and remembers the destruction. During an emotional outburst he told us of his despair, he said;

"I remember that children were burnt alive in Gojra and just like young people caught up in that attack, I have no answer to give these children either. They are asking me why their community has been treated like this - why they are so hated? How do I tell them that this is the cost of their love for our Christ?  How do I tell them that this is what they can expect for the rest of their lives?"

Wilson Chowdhry Chairperson for the BPCA commented;

"This has been another unwarranted attack on a Christian enclave, despite the solid attempts by Christians in Mardan to promote community cohesion, through non-discriminatory student recruitment and interfaith harmony lessons within schools, they have still attracted local hatred. These heart-breaking accounts reinforce the perceptions of fear prevalent in this despondent community.  It is essential that Pakistani authorities bring security and peace to people living there, so that they can initiate the necessary processes to rebuild their shattered lives."

We are calling for UK Churches and Parishioners to send us Sunday School materials and resources so that we can cater for the need of the 100 children, bereft of their usual activities.

Please send us books, paints, blank and lined paper, colouring pencils, sharpeners, felt and other resources that we might compensate this church for what was taken for them.  Please do not be concerned about sending too much as any excess will be delivered to other churches in Pakistan.  Books can be in English or Urdu/Panjabi.

Items should be sent to our address as follows:

British Pakistani Christian Association
57 Green Lane

If you would like to contribute financially to the rebuilding of lives in Mardan then please use the following details:

The BPCA has launched a fund to assist with security for this community and aid for the occupants of the homes  looted and burnt in this attack. 

"Mardan Church Fund" (Please use the fund name as a reference) you can pay in several ways;
Pay by using the PayPal facility on the top right hand corner of our blog and electronic means of transfer will be initiated when you click donate written in the yellow oval. 

You can also send your contributions by cheque payable to;

"British Pakistani Christian Association"  Use address above.

Alternatively should you wish you can pay by BACS, direct debit or standing order by paying into the following account details: 

Sort Code: 20-67-90 
Account Number: 63468976

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