A firefighter’s passion to provide education for thousands of Pakistan’s poor

Featured by Aljazeera in its video, the international media outlet tells the story of how firefighter Mohammed Ayub takes on a second role as a teacher for children from the slums. In Pakistan’s capital Islamabad

After work each day, Mohammed Ayub or affectionally known as “Master Ayub” cycles to a park near the Pakistan Parliament, which doubles as a classroom, to conduct his lessons. Both Muslim and Christian children from poor families sit on the ground together in the park and attend Mohammed Ayub’s lessons.

Millions of children in Pakistan cannot afford to attend school.  Many of the children work during the day, such as selling merchandises on the streets to support their family.

“We’re the children of poor parents, without an education, we’ll wander the streets, clearing rubbish. It’ss not our destiny to clear rubbish. We also want to be somebody.” said one of the teachers at the school.

Master Ayub recalls how his class size grew day by day. From starting out with one student at his first lesson, he soon became the teacher for over 50 children.  Now with the help from his former students and friends, he now teaches more than 200 Muslim and Chirstian children.

There are days, however, when Mohammed Ayub cannot make it to teach his lessons. He was present at the fateful scene during the Marriott Hotel bombing on 20 September 2008, where he pulled numerous trapped people out of the burning debris.

Nevertheless, Mohammed Ayub’s school is still going strong and has celebrated its 30th year. “Thousands of students have passed through from 1st to 10th grades,” says Mohammed Ayub who spends one third of his meagre pay to provide free education to the kids.

Everyday, the students of the school gather rocks and stones to be placed near the school, in hope that one day, students can have a real school to study in.
With a population of more than 199 million as the 6th most populated country in the world, Pakistan has one of the lowest literacy rate in the world.  According to UNESCO, Pakistan has an overall literacy rate* of 58.7%.
*Able to read and write.