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Swat Science Fair- A Demonstration of Resilience and the Will to Change

Swat Science Fair- A Demonstration of Resilience and the Will to Change

Saniya Rashid
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Pakistan’s Swat Valley is often called the Switzerland of Pakistan. But its beauty was lost for many years to the rampages of the Taliban occupation and consequent anti-terrorism operations in the region. We barely hear the words technology and Swat in the same sentence because the provincially mismatched resources often make it seem like only urban centers can be hubs of discovery and growth. However, students in Swat are currently proving everyone wrong. A science fair is currently underway, which is a beautiful demonstration of the resilience of the Swat Valley inhabitants. It also shows the willpower of the people to change their circumstances after years of violence in the region. The two-day Swat Science Fair has been organized by Udhyaana, Swat Education Department and Pakistan Alliance for Maths and Science.

Here is one of the main organizers and founders of Udhyaana, talking about the festival.

Students from various schools participated, both girls and boys, which was a welcoming sight for an otherwise gendered society. Where girls often have to stay behind, just so that their brothers can excel at school.

Several interesting projects were seen, which are reflective of the formidable brain power of youth in Swat.

Swat is Malala’s hometown, where she was shot by the Taliban in 2012. Her struggles and consequent activism aren’t hidden from the world.

No doubt, Malala’s struggles have enabled a positive wave of energy to envelop Swat in terms of better education for its inhabitants. Parents are now more aware and are sending their girls to school willingly. Some students, however, are crediting the Swat Science Festival to their teachers. More qualified teachers are enabling students to realize their potential to the fullest. All this coupled with better resources has resulted in a thriving atmosphere of learning at the Swat Science Fair.

What is most refreshing it the lack of all forms of politics from the narrative that is forming on social media, particularly Twitter. No photo-op by politicians, no political motivations behind the Swat Science Fair. Just students, teachers, and parents coming together to build the society from the ground up. The Swat Science Fair has put theoretical learning in tandem with practical application and it is certainly a milestone worth celebrating for Swat’s socio-economic development.

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