University students in Abu Dhabi rally to help Pakistani pupils struggling to pay school fees
ABU DHABI // A group of university students in Abu Dhabi are helping Pakistani community school pupils whose families are struggling to pay for their education.
It was reported earlier this month that 175 Pakistani children had been suspended from classes because their school fees had not been paid and were expected to miss their final examinations.
The Pakistan Association Dubai said that Dh800,000 was needed to pay outstanding fees owed to 17 schools across Dubai, Sharjah and Ajman.
Katie Sheng, a 19-year-old American student at New York University Abu Dhabi, read the story in The National and shared it with her university friends on social media.
“As university students, we feel that every child should have the opportunities that we’ve been given to get an education,” Ms Sheng said.
“Seeing young children have this opportunity taken away from no fault of their own was an injustice that we couldn’t ignore.”
About 60 students at the university have volunteered with Ms Sheng to support the cause. They hope to help the pupils with tuition and counselling and work with the association.
“The easiest way to approach people about this story was simply to share the article through social media,” Ms Sheng said.
“The story speaks for itself, and students were easily willing to help after hearing about these students and their families. Education is key to a good quality of life and progress within the world.”
More students have voiced interest in helping, which Ms Sheng said was humbling.
“We students have no caste, creed and boundary,” she said. “We all have one dream – a dream to educate ourselves and become beneficial to mankind.”
Brazilian Guillermo Andres Schlamp, an electrical engineering student at NYUAD, said students were eager to contribute.
“We are looking to help in any capacity that is needed and that we have the skills to fill,” he said. “We are hoping to talk with the Pakistani Association Dubai to hear the needs that they have.”
The university students are meeting the association next week to plan ways to help the pupils.
“We have many proposals, but we want to meet students and association officials first,” said Mr Schlamp.
“We don’t want one-time charity. We want a sustainable solution to the problem.”
The association said it welcomed the students’ gesture, which it said reflects the “true spirit” of the Year of Giving in a “global village with people from diverse cultures and all nationalities”.
Updated: May 12, 2017 04:00 AM