Introduction
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Introduction

This story, which seems like a fairy tale, is a fascinating reality. In February 2002, concerned citizens joined hands to do something real and practical for their community. They established Kot Radha Kishan Development Trust (KDT) and began to think of constructive ways to provide high-quality education in the area which was yet to experience modern civic and social facilities. The first project of KDT was THE LEARNING SCHOOL which continues to blossom today.

The Learning School, Kot Radha Kishan, is a living reality that epitomizes the voluntary spirit of Pakistani civil society. The local community has contributed more than 20 million Pak rupees to convert this dream into reality. The school has a beautiful academic block, fully equipped science labs, up-to-date computer labs, and libraries. It is here that a professionally qualified faculty of sixty-five members is catering to the educational quest of about one thousand students from poor and middle-class families coming from remote villages and quasi-urban settlements on a not-for-profit basis.

The members of KDT especially wanted to make an institution that would educate children and mold their personalities to assure that they would be society's assets. They also wanted to promote the culture of peace in the community and make the students of the area messengers of peace. These aims are reflected in the activities held at The Learning School. So far, these members of KDT have been entirely successful in their attempts to achieve their dreams.


Education is not just confined to textbooks:

To ensure that the students are intellectually well equipped to meet the future challenges, The Learning School- besides formal curriculum- has embarked on many innovative approaches. The school has a meticulously designed curriculum that harmonizes the pre-planned events. The teachers make sure that they create a delicate poise between the studies, the co-curricular, and the extra-curricular activities. On the other hand, as mentioned earlier, special events are conducted to inculcate values of peace and tolerance amongst the future generation.

KDT has never wasted an opportunity to convey its message. In 2004, KDT arranged a Seminar on Children's participation in Decision making on the Second Annual Day of TLS, where more than fifteen hundred people participated. The 3rd Annual Day of The Learning School theme was Unity in Diversity, where nine Indian delegates were also present. In January 2007, Human Rights Day Celebrations were arranged with the collaboration of Fazaldad Human Rights Institute for the students at the Learning School. In 2007 again, KDT organized a seminar at the fifth Annual Day of TLS on Educational Reforms for a Better Pakistan. The "Children followed the sixth annual day as Today's Citizens" theme.

TLS has been very lucky to have very respected and prominent personalities as guests in such occasions. Some of them were Mr Imran Masood, Education Minister Punjab; Mr Jahanian Gardizi, Minister for Literacy Punjab; His Excellency Mr Christoph Brümmer, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany, First Secretary of German Embassy - Ms Ellen Gölz, District Nazim of Kasur - Rana Muhammad Iqbal, Mr Saeed Akhtar Ansari, District Coordination Officer Kasur; Mr Hubertus von Welck, Mr Ronald Meinardus, Dr. Rene Klaff, and Mr Siegfried Herzog Regional Directors of Friedrich Naumann Foundation; Mr Arno Keller, Mr Peter-Andreas Bochmann and Mr Olaf Kellerhoff, Resident representatives of Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. Pakistan Office; and Ms Ayesha Javed, the Punjab Chief Minister advisor.

Education for creating a culture of peace:

Peace Education Project is something the trustees of TLS especially take care. All students of The Learning School actively participate in events to promote a culture of peace in society. Students participate in dramas, gigs, art and poetry contests, essay writing competitions, and debates to show their peers what they feel.

To integrate their families to the same spirit, KDT arranged a "Peace Education Fun Fair" in November 2002 and a "Fun Fair on Tolerance" in November 2003. Along with the cultural and social expression of togetherness, they watched street theater performances and puppet shows on the ideas of brotherhood. Also, in 2004 KDT arranged a funfair. In reality, TLS set its First Annual Day in 2003 with the theme We want peace. It proved that spreading peace was one of the primary objectives of the board of trustees.

Apart from these events, the management wants to alleviate the tension present in the Indo-Pak region. The Learning School arranged for sixteen delegates to visit India for ten days from 5th to 14th May 2006 with "Education for creating a culture of peace." The visit to India was successful, and the group met with several personalities like Shri I. K. Gujral, Ms Suman Krishan Kant (wife of former Vice President of India, Shri Krishan Kant), and her Mother. A comprehensive training workshop at Dev Samaj College of Education, Chandigarh, was arranged from 8th to 12th May, where more than 25 resource persons gave their input.

Vice-Chancellor of Chandigarh Punjab University inaugurated the Workshop for TLS Teachers at Dev Samaj College of Education, Chandigarh, India, in 2006.TLS Staff members also visited the schools - Balvantray Mehta Vidya Bhawan AngurideviShersingh Memorial Academy, New Delhi; Vivik High School, ChandigarhSt. John High School, ChandigarhSmall Wonder School, Chandigarh; KB DAV Senior Secondary Public School (Sector-7), Chandigarh. TLS staff was very pleased because all these schools welcomed them warmly during the visit and arranged special programs. They also visited their classrooms, and the children were happy that Pakistani teachers were with them. TLS also invited these schools to promote peace in both countries with the slogan "Aao Dosti Karain" (let's make friendship) and teachers exchange program with The Learning School, Kot Radha Kishan, and all of the schools accepted this offer happily. They will shortly visit Pakistan, and the school hopes that the chain will continue.

Call to Cooperate; An important message from KDT:

All this is a harbinger of emerging social change in a less-developed area. Kot Radha Kishan Development Trust has taken the first step to start this long journey; we invite you to join hands with the KDT to expand its vision and work further. We have created an Educational Fund to sustain this unique and futuristic spirit, award scholarships to needy students, and replicate similar projects in other less-developed areas of Pakistan. We will welcome contributions to the Educational Fund.