Ganderbal, Kashmir. Reviving the cultural diversity and communal Brotherhood of 'Kashur Batta-Musalmaan' legacy, Social Voluntary Organizat
London: (By Hannah Chowdhry) Soojal looks immaculate in his new school uniform. We are so proud of this young man...
Badil Masih was sodomised and murdered by his employer Mr Mohammed Ikram and a cohort, in July 2019, for daring to seek full payment for work he had carried out at a scrapyard (click here).
British Asian Christian Association stepped in to pay for legal costs, and support the family financially as they challenged for justice. Despite clear evidence of a crime courts offered pre-arrest bail to the murderers who began to threaten the Christian family and key witnesses.
Though Badil’s mother Shareefa remained stoic throughout the court process. The witnesses were nobbled by the murderers and their cohorts. They refused to testify and threatened to alter their statement if Shareefa continued to pursue justice. It is not known whether they succumbed to bribes, threats or both.
In tandem with the ignominy of losing witnesses Shareefa suffered intensified threats of the murder of her remaining son. Unbeknown to British Asian Christian Association or our solicitor, Shareefa met in private with the opponent solicitor and agreed compensation terms for the murder of her son.
The pain of her betrayal led to Shareefa dying from grief. Her remaining son Soojal (10 yrs) has been shunted between homes of maternal and paternal uncles and BACA attempted to place him in a boarding school.
In our last post we explained how difficult it was to engage with Soojal’s uncles, however we had been successful.
After finally gaining permission to enter Soojal into a local school, our field team took him to Maryland High School on 28th March to seek admission. This is a good school and admits students only after an aptitude test and unfortunately, despite what the uncles had told us about having placed him in a school, Soojal did not perform well in the test.
Soojal was unable to figure out basic maths questions and lacked any language proficiency. We discovered that he could not even write his own name. Naturally, Soojal was denied admission at the school.
We sought an opportunity for Soojal to be admitted in first grade so that he might be able to develop the foundation of these subjects, but the school principal Miss Fazeelat Asma refused. She said:
“I understand and respect your concern, but our admission policy does not allow me to admit Soojal in a class where students are younger than him”
We took Soojal to another school and were also denied admission, however we were able to admit Soojal at “The School of Excellence and National Academy.” This is a private school who have agreed to enrol enrol Soojal in the first grade.
Muhammad Roshan, the principal of the school told us that they will teach Soojal the basics of Maths, English and Urdu for the first three months and after summer vacation in September, Soojal will be promoted to the next grade.
Soojal shows us how he can now easily write the English alphabet. Before he started school he could not do this and we praise God for his speedy assimilation of foundation English skills.
Soojal has already learnt to write his name and can reading rudimental Children’s books. His class teacher Miss Shagufta, spoke with our Operations Manager, she said:
“I have a heart for Soojal after learning about all the suffering he has been through.
“I am trying my utmost to put him on a fast-track so that he reaches levels of learning expected for his age”
“Soojal has forgotten everything he learnt in previous schools.
“I am not sure if he ever attended any school in past.”
A very dapper student and one we know will work hard to bring to fruition his mothers wishes for his life.
BACA bought new clothes for Soojal on Easter as he had only one set of clothes, this included a new school uniform.
We have been so excited to watch how Soojal’s confidence, demeanour and discipline has improved since he has started attending school. He is even able to express to his uncles when he feels they are not treating him like their own children.
Soojal seems more content and has expressed joy about going to school. He also studies at home and in the evening he takes private study from his school principal Mr. Muhammad Roshan, which BACA pays for. We too are doing our utmost to see that he is successful.
Faisal Masih, Soojal’s uncle said,
“I am thankful to BACA for helping Soojal get education.
“I believe Soojal will get a good education and one day he will become an important person , it makes me feel proud.
“I never had such opportunities and I thank God that he has enabled this huge chance to my sisters child.”
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said:
“When we began helping the mother of Soojal we never thought he would become orphaned in such tragic circumstances.
“At a very young age this boy has had to suffer great ignominy and trauma, but he is a survivor.
“Soojal is a bible-believing child and we are adamant that we make him erudite in his Christian faith as well as achieving academic excellence.
“The brutal murder of his brother began with a beating that Soojal saw first hand, he escaped with his life by running.
“To see the solace he is achieving through being in school and learning is heart-warming and special.
“We will give him the strength to fulfil his desire to be a senior police officer, or whatever he chooses later in life.
“The gift of education will weaken attempts to supress Christians, the gift of God’s word assures eternal life.”
We are worried that Soojal’s uncles would still like him to work as well as learn. This is one of the reasons we have paid for additional tuition at his home. We are in serious discussions with them to move Soojal to a Christian boarding school, which is one of the finest educational establishments in Pakistan. The uncles seem more willing to do this now that they see he cannot offer them an additional income. Sending, Soojal to a Christian boarding school will also serve a primary function of teaching him the tenets of his Christian faith and enabling a smoother Christian walk.
While we await a formal agreement that we can send Soojal to the Christian boarding school, we continue to check with his local Pastor that he is attending Sunday School regularly each Sunday. The uncles have committed to this for now and we pray they continue. It should be noted his current school only teaches Islam and not Christianity but without the uncles consent, we have no other option.
We are grateful to the Catholic Charity who have taken up responsibility for all this years cost for education for Soojal. Soojal is not the only persecuted Christian we are supporting and if you have been moved by this story you can donate towards our work.
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