The traumatic effects of the 16 December 2014 Peshawar tragedy where 142 innocent Pakistanis (132 of them students) were martyred reverberate in the lives of Pakistani children whose schools have been turned into veritable military enclosures with sandbags, snipers on roof-tops, barbed wire on heightened walls, terrorist-escape drills rather than fire-drills. It is a sad sight. Children come home from school every day half-excited, half-afraid as they tell their parents about new drills and new changes in the school routine. Parents listen with a quiet prayer on their lips.
The people of Pakistan are impressively resilient. Terrorism has brought trauma and pain in their lives but it has not extinguished their smiles or gratitude for what remains: irrepressible, undiminished hope. Hope that forces life to continue normally. The sun comes out every day and, every day, people go about their daily tasks full of Faith and Hope. It is this Faith and Hope that fuels AK’s Physical Education initiatives.
AK has started a movement for “Peace through Sport.” Tennis Tournaments have been organized on district, national and international levels in the last year aiming to create an environment of peace, partnership and level-playing fields. Principles of fair-play, tolerance are stressed in a framework of fun and friendly competition. The January 2015 National Junior Tennis Tournament hosted over one hundred and twenty tennis players who came from all corners of the country including a sizeable team representing Peshawar and the KPK province.
Further programmes in the pipeline include starting badminton at the community level for all women (working inside or outside the house) to help relieve stress and enhance mental health and conducting practical courses in PT (physical training) for children of all ages.