KUT News director Emily Donahue traveled through Pakistan with nine other reporters this month on a trip organized by the International Center for Journalists.
In Pakistan, the poverty is breathtaking. This is a country of opposites. The rich are very rich, and the poor live in poverty unlike anything in the United States. People live by the millions – in crumbling buildings on the outskirts of cities, in tents, in windowless shacks with mud floors and cloth strung as roofs – side by side with animals; on the streets, in the parks, on garbage dumps, in canals; on dusty, empty roads, in fields. Alone and with families, among strangers, or not.
In this nation of 180 million people, with so many millions living in desperate conditions, it is the millions of children affected by this poverty that stirred my compassion and my frustration.
My first night here, I naively asked why so many children were on the streets alone in the daytime, and out, again alone, so late at night. Why aren’t they in school, I asked? Education is a complicated thing here, I was told. The system doesn’t work.