Aleena Imran has an MBA from NUST and has worked as an HR professional at companies like MPCL, Coke, Jazz, and LMKT. In her spare time, she runs her home-based baking business. Apart from being an avid reader, she enjoys writing, photography, and art.
In the Rajanpur district of Punjab, there lies a small village called Rasool Pur. Home to almost 2000-3000 residents—most of whom are ethnic Ahmadani Baloch—the village boasts a shocking literacy rate of almost 100%, and claims to have had no crime reported in the last 100 years.
Reports claim that there is no concept of littering – and that surprisingly, the whole village is a smoking-free zone. The ancestors of these Ahmadani Baloch people migrated from Balochistan to Rasool Pur (and other adjoining areas in Southern Punjab) in 1933-34, after being displaced many times due to flooding in various areas.
Since they did not have any other source of income at the time, they opted to focus on education to earn and sustain their livelihood. The first primary schools (for both boys and girls) were financed and built by the villagers themselves. The unique village has one primary school and two high schools. Once the students complete their high school education, they usually opt to continue their higher education at a college in Jampur city, which is only 8-10 kilometers away.
According to a source, the residents do not accept the UN’s definition of literacy (i.e., the ability to sign one’s own name), and the elders of the village ensure that all the young individuals complete their education – at least till the high school level. Anyone who fails to do so can not participate in their society.
According to Mehtaab Jahan, the principal of Government Girls High School Rasool Pur, the reason why the village is so unique is because of the high literacy rate of women. During an interview with Anadolu Agency, she stated, “All the women of the village are educated here. This shows that they understand the importance of women’s education. This is the main reason that all the children, as soon as they reach the age of 4-5, start their education”. She further went on to state that there are over 300 students in the high school for boys, and almost the same number of students in the high school for girls.
To ensure that no one drops out of school because of financial constraints, the villagers started their own project titled the ‘Rasool Pur Development Society’. Society is responsible for collecting donations for anyone who can not afford to obtain an education. Moreover, to keep the culture of obtaining an education intact and to encourage the students to excel, the community organizes an annual event to honor the students who obtain high positions in university-level and other competitive exams.
While discussing the annual event, Dilawar Saleem (a resident of Rasool Pur) stated that “encouraging the students and showing them the success stories of their elder siblings make them achieve even higher goals.” While discussing the astounding lack of crime, Saleem said, “We have a strong network of communication among us, which has been passed on by our ancestors. No one tries to cross the line when it comes to maintaining law and order. This is the rule which has abled us to attain zero crime rate in our village”.
While the data collected from the 2017 Pakistan Census shows that the actual literacy rate of Rasool Pur is almost 70% (and not 100%), it is still much higher than the usual district average of around 33%. Other villages can learn from this small, but forward-thinking village – and the government/lawmakers should make an active effort to try and duplicate Rasool Pur’s successful model wherever possible.
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