Monday 11 January 2016
Pakistan. Baghwanti and the love that returns

A story of social redemption that starts at the Nest Centre in Pakistan

A morning of three years ago a girl arrives at our doorstep, unexpected. She has an unusual request: she wants to help out to repay what she received when she was little.

We would say a normal act of kindness, of ordinary reciprocity that leads us to love who has loved us or to return the favours received. But in the difficult context in which we find ourselves, focused on daily survival, it has never happened before.

Baghwanti, the name of the girl, is 13 years old. When she was little she came to the Nest Centre for a while. She learnt how to read, and a bit to count as well. Then she had to stop to help the family: she is in fact the eldest of 11 children. Baghwanti comes from the Bagri ethnic group, outcast Hindus, completely excluded by the society. For 25 years the Nest Centre has addressed their activities to them, now aiming especially on the education of the children, as a more effective way of redemption and to facilitate the process of obtaining documents.

«She started to help completely for free – Maria J., coordinator of the project, tells us – doing anything necessary: from cleaning the rooms to help the children shower and change. As we learnt to know her and we saw her perseverance, we gave her new and more delicate tasks. For example, the morning she would gather the smallest children from their tents and brings them to the Centre. The mothers left the children to her willingly because Baghwanti is a Bagri just like them, talks the same language and lives in a slum just like all the Bagri people. »

Now, at the age of 16, Baghwanti has quite naturally assumed the role of cultural mediator in the relationships with the Bagri families. «It seems that she has seized and mastered the spirit of service with which we work at the Nest Centre – concludes Maria J. – and so, for this reason, we have decided to hire her as assistant teacher and to give her a salary. Every day we appreciate more and more her gentleness and attention and how, in each occasion, she can be an instrument of peace.»

The data of the Nest project in 2015

  • 110 children registered
  • 60 children attend school regularly
  • 35 children have been directed to state schools, 15 of which attend the afterschool activities at Nest
  • 80 families regularly in contact
  • Medical assistance to 4 children: one has regained sight; another one – affected by TBC but not cured – has been saved.

For 2016 it is necessary a contribution of €35.862,14 for teaching materials, school fees, meals, medical care, staff salaries, rent and other expenses of the Centre.

(from AMU Notizie n. 3/2015)


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