LAHORE: The last day of the three-day Children’s Festival at Ali Auditorium threw the spotlight on street children. “The biggest thing is that it gave the children an opportunity. Especially those who are routinely avoided,” said Lubana Tayyaba, founder of the SHEED Society. “It is just a try to get these children accepted by the privileged classes.”
The night started with The Little Matchstick Boy, a silent play by Lahore Grammar, Johar Town, which used the shadow technique and music to tell the story of a little boy trying to sell matchsticks on a cold day. The music used included contemporary classics like the Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
Next up was a performance by children from the Sheed Society called Rajkumari Ka Maidan (The princess’s playground), using both Punjabi and Urdu.
Ghulam Fatima, mother of one of the performing children, said she was really happy that the Society had provided her daughter the opportunity.
Waheed, 1, a trainer at Pahchaan, said that the organisation had setup a community centre which took care of 30 students and also provided a shelter for homeless children.
He said the organisation had been using theatre as a way to educate and engage children and help them develop better communication skills.
Through Mujhay Dar Lagta Hai (I am afraid), Pahchaan told the story of children away from home.
The play used parallel dream and life sequence to show that the children’s nightmares were often quite realistic. Twelve-year-old Aamir, an orphan, also performed in the play. He has been living on the streets ever since he lost his parents even before he was five. He has been working in the Phatak Mandi, where he assists a vegetable and fruit vendor in sales. This was the first time he performed on stage.
Naima Alvi, a student and one of the audience, said that such events inspired children to grow into better human beings.
Originally published by The Express Tribune