Zahid Hussain's family were so poor that they needed him to help provide for the family, preventing him from going to school.
Ten-year-old Zahid, also known as "chottu" (little boy) due to his work as a tea-deliverer, is one of millions of Pakistani children who do not have the opportunity to enrol in school. It is not just their education that such boys and girls have missed, but also the right to cherish their childhood – driven instead into child labour to help make ends meet.
Until recently, Zahid was working at a road-side shanty restaurant serving and delivering tea to different shops and schools. Whilst serving tea one day to teachers in a Right To Play partner school, Government Boys School Drib MehrShah in Sindh province, Zahid became captivated by a play-based learning activity being conducted by a Right To Play Coach, Farzana. Coach Farzana invited him to join the game, which he did. Zahid was able to quickly grasp the games and enjoyed learning and interacting with other children.
Farzana realised Zahid's potential and together with the Head Teacher approached Zahid's father and tried to convince him to enrol Zahid in the school. This meant loss of meagre yet significant income for the family, but with persistent efforts over a few weeks, Zahid's father was eventually persuaded.
Zahid's younger brother has also been enrolled into school. The Head Teacher facilitated the enrolment and now teachers and Right To Play Coaches ensure that the brothers have a supportive environment to continue their education.
In his immaculate new uniform, Zahid brims with pride and joy. Play-based learning has sparked his enthusiasm for studying and he now has a bright future ahead.