A Day of Learning, Celebration, and Empowerment: Pakistan Learning Festival Day One

Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) The inaugural ceremony of Pakistan Learning Festival (PLF) 2024 unfolded here with a grandeur that set the tone of the day, dedicated to “Learning for People and Planet.” The Chief Guest, Secretary Education Punjab, Ahsan Waheed, graced the occasion with his presence.

The festivities began with a captivating band performance, and formally commenced with recitation from the Holy Quran. The national anthem, resonating through the Children Library Complex, which is also the co-host of the festival, was beautifully rendered through sign-language by children from Deaf Reach School. A warm welcome note was extended by Ahmad Khawar Shahzad, Managing Director of CLC Punjab, and Baela Raza Jamil, Founder of PLF & CEO ITA.

The event then came alive with the vibrant rendition of “PLF Tarana Hamain Kitab Chahiye” by the students of Sanjan Nagar, featuring lyrics by Zehra Nigah and composition by Rakae Jamil. Partner schools took the stage for a lively welcome performance, and the Kalam-e-Iqbal Special Education Department added a touch of inspiration. A significant moment in the ceremony included the launch of new children’s books by the Pakistan Literacy Project in collaboration with ITA, Room to Read (RTR), and three publishers.

Rumana Husain, Advisor PLF, and Joel Bacha from Room to Read. An engaging story enactment was presented by SKMZ, while partners such as the School Education Department (SED), PILAC, The British Council, and Oxford University Press expressed their voices in support of PLF.

The Chief Guest then declared Pakistan Learning Festival Lahore 2024 officially open, marking the beginning of a day filled with diverse activities. The day unfolded various riveting sessions, notable among which were “Suno Kahani Meri Zubaani (SKMZ)” dramatic storytelling, and an interactive session by Rumana Husain, called “Sitti’s Bird,” a poignant book by Palestinian author Malak Mattar. Atif Badar and Waqas Manzoor orchestrated a compelling theatrical performance titled “Learning through Role Play and Drama.” Through captivating role-playing and dynamic drama, the duo seamlessly blended entertainment with education, creating an immersive learning experience.

Alif Laila Book Bus Society (ALBBS) hosted an enjoyable session, ‘Storyteller Bus’, featuring engaging activities like Hand and Foot games, a Snake Ladder game, Book stalls, and Creative craft items. A special session by Children Library Complex (CLC) highlighted Women Role Models.

The session aimed to inspire and celebrate the contributions of women in roles exemplifying resilience and leadership, and emphasizing the importance of diverse and empowering narratives. Another engaging session, Science Fuse explored the Science of Rockets, Creating Human-sized Bubbles, The Magic of Numbers, Sir Newton’s Story, and Fire-Making. Simultaneously, the Khwarizmi Science Society presented an enlightening Aljazari Workshop, adding a hands-on dimension to the exploration of scientific concepts.

True to their commitment, the British Council continued their unwavering support for such festivals, seamlessly organizing a Popup Library alongside captivating storytelling sessions. Diverse sessions also took place covering subjects such as science shows, gymnastics, aerobics, illustrated stories, and a bilingual storytelling session conducted by Rumana Husain.

PLF embraced technology with workshops like VR Gaming Gear UP Series and Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and Digital Art. Renowned artist and educator, Rumana Hussain, showcased 14 Pakistani Climate Heroes, emphasizing the importance of addressing climate change. Throughout the day, PLF offered sessions on heritage, traffic rules awareness, and even a seminar by WWF representatives on Climate & Water Conservation.

The Children Library Complex added a fun touch with activities like aerobics, gymnastics, martial arts, and health and fitness. The day concluded with its last session where SOC Films curated an enriching selection of screenings, featuring compelling titles like “Quaid say Batain,” “HASHIYA,” and specially crafted short movies for children. This cinematic finale provided a thought-provoking and entertaining build-up to the finale concert featuring Sufi music by Fazal Jutt and Ahsan Abbas Wadalian.

Pakistan Learning Festival 2024 has been made possible through the generous support of sponsors and partners, including British Council, Room to Read, LGS, PILAC, Beaconhouse School, Idara-e-Taleem-o-Agahi, Sighsavers, and Oxford University Press. The festival not only celebrated learning but also served as a platform to address critical issues facing Pakistan, such as climate change, education, and child protection.