Germantown H.S. grad improving access to education in Pakistan

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GERMANTOWN, Tenn. -- As many students focus on soaking up summer vacation, one recent Germantown High School graduate is focusing on his plan to educate more students across the globe.

"Six, seven, eight-years-old, they're working. They've lost their childhood, so we try to give them that back," said Co-founder of Childhood Education Assistance Program Alishan Valiani.

Even though he just graduated high school, he has already helped about 200 child laborers start learning to read and write.

"CEAP is a literacy program developed to help kids who are working during the daytime and who wouldn't receive an education if they didn't have a program such as CEAP,"

Valiani and his CEAP team founded a school in Karachi, Pakistan in 2014.

Valiani said volunteers charge middle income students a small fee to take various forms art classes.

Students learn visual arts, music, and theatre.

With those funds, CEAP can afford materials, snacks, and space so child laborers can learn for free.

Students learning to read through CEAP work through workbooks in both English and Urdu.

This is just the start for Valiani and his teammates.

He said over the next two years, he plans to grow the program to teach internally displaced children.

That means children who are forced to move within the country due to conflict.

He said CEAP also hopes to educate children who are incarcerated.

He said that in Pakistan, many children go to jail when their mothers get arrested.

"They are kept in the jail with the mothers, and because of this, they don't get an education if they do at all," Valiani explained.

Valiani plans to attend the University of Pennsylvania in the fall but will also continue his CEAP efforts.

He said he feels compelled to help underprivileged children, because of the great life his parents built for him.

"If they took one misstep, I wouldn't be where I am today. I'd be that slum boy that my father once was," he said.

Valiani hopes to visit Pakistan again within the next year.

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