Oath Ceremony ceremonies

Soul stirring scenes were witnessed at the launching of Pakistan National Youth Service (PNYS) under the banner of International Association of National Youth (IANYS) at Pakistan’s premier Auditorium the Alhamra, Lahore on August 13th, 2003 at 7:30 PM. Over 600 people thronged the hall. They occupied all the available seats, lined the aisles and sat on the stairs. They applauded and cheered enthusiastically at every item which was presented. All the youth had come there to see the first concerted effort being made to ameliorate and improve their lot.

Professor Sallmaan Raffiq, PNYS volunteer, who is Professor of English as well as an international level compere, director and writer, hosted the Programme.

Perhaps no more finer and more heartening sight could be witnessed then, when 100 Youth both boys and girls resplendent in their sparkling white uniforms and blue caps exhibiting PNYS logos took the Oath to serve their communities.

These Youth volunteered their services for a period of one year. Great enthusiasm was seen among the other assembled Youth, who also wanted to take the Oath, and were invited by Mr. Ali Khan to join PNYS.

On this historic occasion a message from Mr. Donald Eberly, Honorary President of the International Association for National Youth Service and Honorary Advisor of Pakistan National Youth Service was read out. In the message he greeted all the members and told them that no matter what obstacles they may encounter on the road to their final goal, the aim of helping others as well as themselves is so important that it will one day usher in an era of peace and understanding that military armies have failed to accomplish.

Mr. Aitzaz Ahsan, Member National Assembly speaking on the occasion said,

“There is pressing need for such an initiative, because there is despair and hopelessness found among youth, which results in their rushing abroad, thus creating a brain drain in our country. I pledge my full support for this cause”.

Mr. Abdul Sattar Edhi, noted philanthropist and social worker said,

“This is an excellent initiative. Our human resource especially the youth which comprise almost 60% of the country are not being mobilized. I appreciate the efforts of PNYS volunteers for arranging such a wonderful function and inspiring other young people to become partners in such a noble cause.”

Dr. Faiza Asghar, Advisor to Chief Minister on Children Rights, speaking on the occasion said;

“I congratulate Mr. Ali Khan for such a bold step for improving the lot of the Pakistani Youth. It is extremely rare to find such a gathering of Youth from all over the country, bursting with enthusiasm to do social work. Through this project of PNYS we can realize the aim of eradicating beggary and anti social activities from the society in which the youth were wont and sometimes forced to indulge. This massive Youth force can also be used to help the children who are being exploited or are under-priviledged. I pledge my full support for the realization of aims of the PNYS.”

A very thought provoking case study was also presented on the occasion where a youth shared the experiences of his personal life and the problems he encountered. He urged the people to support such initiatives so that other youth may not waste their lives in non-productive wok, addiction and misery. This case study created a deep impression upon the people and was an eye opener for many in the audience. The audience were filled with tears after listening to his experiences.

Mr. Yawar Irfan, President, Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industries appreciated the initiative and said that he is solidly behind the project of the PNYS and whenever needed, he will go out to help in this noble and patriotic cause”.

Mr. Jahania Gardezi, Minister for Literacy and Non-formal Education shed light on the situation of how important literacy is for the development of the youth. He further said,

“I will utilize this big force of PNYS volunteers in the current literacy programs of the government.”

Dr. Asghar, Advisor to Chief Minister on Health speaking on the occasion said,

“I hereby endorse the PNYS project and express the desire that the momentum it has created should continue for a better and more prosperous Pakistan”

Mr. Ali Haider, a famous and very popular entertainer said,

“I am very happy to participate in such a useful and scintillating event. Whatever talents I can give for this cause, I gladly will do”

Thus with the launching of the Pakistan National Youth Service Project as Mr. Ali Khan pointed in his presentation, a new vision has come into being with the aim of regarding youth as a solution to problems and not as a problem itself; as a precious human resource and not as a burden upon the society; as active citizens and not as citizens in waiting; as partners in development and not as obstacles in development. We need Pakistan National Youth Service because of the amount of work to be done in our communities. Because we cannot even begin to think of stopping the ongoing degeneration in our society, unless we help to shape the civic-engagement behavior of tomorrow’s adults. He added; “The PNYS Project is a highly professionally designed volunteerism initiative based on the core concept of “self reliance,” where young people are first trained and then engaged in needs-based community work, for a pre-determined service-period.” He also stated; “I am encouraged by the progress we have made. I know that we still have a long way to go. And I also know that a series of speeches or promises will never be enough. Our actions will have to be the compass by which we will be judged.”

A throng of eager people, both men and women, boys and girls filled the breathtakingly beautiful Jinnah Hall, Kasur, on the historic Oath Taking Ceremony of the Pakistan National Youth Service (PNYS) Volunteers. Never were such soul-stirring scenes witnessed in the history of Kasur where the assembled people pledged an important part of their lives for the exciting prospect of educating their coming generations under the aegis of UNICEF’s Universal Primary Education Programme in which the District Govt. Kasur also played their part and collaborated with full vigor for the promotion of this important cause.

The PNYS is involved in the completion of its assigned task of Third Party Verification and Social Mobilization for Universal Primary Education. PNYS has introduced some pioneering concepts e.g. “The Service Concept” i.e. which involves people, meaningfully, intensely, structurally and requires sustained commitment from them for a certain period of time. PNYS has been successful in building social capital and generating support from neglected and isolated segments of society. It has evolved through the ceaseless efforts of PNYS volunteers into an exciting movement which is totally run and led by the local Youth with the mobilized support of their respective communities. In a very short period, PNYS volunteers have managed to produce some outstanding results. e.g. admitting over 3000 children to schools, arranging uniforms for poor and orphan children and providing books and stationary for needy children. This has been accomplished without any external help.

Notable dignitaries and personalities voiced their unflinching support for the cause, among them Dr. Faiza Asghar, Advisor to Chief Minister on Children Rights, Mr. Sardar Hasan Muakkal , Minister of Management and Professional Development, Ms. Sehar Raza Qizilbash, UNICEF Representative and Ms. Sadaf Hussain, District Coordinator UPE Kasur.

The volunteers were resplendent in their colorful dress and blue caps. This is the first time in the history of Kasur that an event of such magnitude and importance regarding the society’s educational development has taken place, where an asset of 500 PNYS Volunteers dedicated one year of their lives for the cause of developing and enhancing the cause of education in a District known for its low literacy rate.

A very thought provoking case study was also presented on the occasion where a female youth shared the experiences of her personal life and the discrimination she encountered. She urged the people to support such initiatives so that other girls may not waste their lives in misery. This case study created a deep impression upon the people and was an eye opener for many in the audience. There were tears in the eyes of most people after listening to his experiences.

Professor Salmaan Raffiq, In-charge Cultural Wing YES Pakistan was the master of the ceremonies while hosting the event; he welcomed the participants and gave an overview of all the achievements and activities of PNYS to date. He gave rich praise to the dedicated efforts of PNYS Volunteers who have so courageously embarked upon the realization of UPE goals.

Several songs and poetical pieces were introduced at various spots during the programme. These were highly appreciated and enjoyed by the audience. They were related to strengthening the morale of the youth and spurring them on to higher efforts. These pieces were presented by the boys and girls of the PNYS which lent a musical touch and dramatic force to the programme and inspired the audience to be the difference that makes a difference.

These Youth volunteered their services for a period of one year. Great enthusiasm was seen among the other assembled Youth, who also wanted to take the Oath, and were invited by Mr. Ali Khan to join PNYS.