Karachi (Muhammad Yasir)
The Aga Khan University’s Department of Community Health Sciences (CHS) organised12 theatre shows for school-going children at the Arts Council of Pakistan, where over 4000 students between the ages of 11 to 15 from The Citizen Foundation, Zindagi Trust, and numerous private and government schools eagerly attended the play, accompanied by their teachers and staff.
The act, brought together by the CHS Faculty at AKU, was written and directed by Farhan Alam, faculty at the National Academy of Performing Arts. The performances were a riveting success as the young audiences learned how deeply tobacco consumption could lead to addiction, which could cause severe health problems and prevent them from improving their lives in the future.
The activity was supported by a grant from NIHR, UK, titled “Addressing Smokeless Tobacco Use & Building Research Capacity in South Asia – ASTRA,” led by Professor Javaid Ahmed Khan, in the Department of Medicine, and supported by Dr Romaina Iqbal, Associate Professor and Section Head of NCD in the Department of Community Health Sciences.
The storyline revolved around three courageous children who valiantly took a stand against deceptive sellers of tobacco products. The mission of the protagonists was to eradicate such harmful practices from their families and overall society.
“Tobacco consumption remains prevalent in the elder generations of many households where these children come from. It is necessary to educate them on the dangers of this indulgence so they can keep themselves away from tobacco and also advise others in their home to practice restraint,” remarked the faculty members while sharing why the idea of a tobacco-awareness act was adopted for schoolchildren from underprivileged backgrounds.
The administrations in charge of the schools also extended their gratitude towards the AKU-CHS faculty on bringing forth such an insightful act to keep their children out of the harm’s way in the longer run.