Almost half of children in Pakistani Christian schools are shoeless -survey

Almost half of the children in low-cost Christian schools in Pakistan have no shoes, and a fourth of them lack access to clean and potable water, says a survey commissioned by education charity Starfish Asia.

(REUTERS / Akhtar Soomro)Geeta sits with homeless and orphaned children at the Bilquis Edhi Foundation in Karachi, Pakistan, August 6, 2015.

The recent survey reveals that half of Pakistani Christian schools have no playgrounds and 15 percent of the children there do not have notebooks. Thirteen percent of the surveyed schools also have no separate toilets for children and staff, the World Watch Monitor reports.

Aside from that, Starfish Asia found that 10 percent of the high schools have no blackboards and only 23 percent have internet access. Moreover, the survey discovered that only 5 percent of Pakistan's primary and middle schools have libraries.

"The Christian Schools Survey carries an urgency that cries out for the attention of educationalists, philanthropists and donor agencies, and gives insight into a deprived world that many Pakistanis, let alone other authorities, are unaware of," says the survey report.

Starfish Asia remarked that Christians in Pakistan are often treated as outcasts and are alienated from access to education, justice, and healthcare services. The report lauded the local entrepreneurs who have made up for the government and the church's failure to "provide schools that welcome its citizens."

A few months ago, Asia News published an article highlighting the hatred and intolerance incited against Christians and non-Muslims in Pakistan. The report mentioned a study by the National Commission for Justice and Peace which found that state-approved textbooks contain references inciting hatred against religious minorities in the country.

The government-sponsored curricula are to blame for the rise in religiously-motivated violence in four provinces in Pakistan, the study said.

NCJP executive director Cecil Shane Chaudhry has raised concern regarding their findings, saying this is already a national issue. In light of the situation, the official asked the Church to help promote the minorities' role in the country.