By Adriana Ermter with Aasma Qamer
“I never knew games could teach me
so many things,” says 14-year-old Khushboo, from Takht Bhai, a small town in Pakistan known for
its Buddhist monasteries. “Before I joined Right To Play, I had no
purpose in my life. I used to think, but without feelings for others, without
understanding the pain of others”.
That was until Khushboo met Right
To Play coach Fehmida and
joined the play-based program she runs.
“Coach Fehmida helped boost my
confidence and my level of motivation,” explains Khushboo. “She has
continuously mentored me and provided me guidance.”
Coach Fehmida says that when Khushboo first joined
Right To Play, the young girl struggled with confidence, self-awareness and the
ability to engage with her peers. She also lacked self-trust, so feared playing
freely with the other children. Recognizing this, Fehmida sought Khushboo out.
“I try to pay equal attention to
all of the children and win their trust through polite, encouraging and
motivational behaviour,” explains Fehmida. “Sometimes though, I need to give a little
extra affection and attention to the children who need more inclusion and engagement.”
Equipped with Right To Play
training, Fehmida responded to Khushboo’s needs by creating a safe environment
and a sense of belonging by sitting with her and asking questions about her
day, family and school, each week. Slowly, as the young girl grew more
comfortable she began sharing her thoughts and feelings with the coach. Their
regular, everyday interaction formed a bond built on mutual trust and respect,
self-expression and self-understanding. As Khushboo’s confidence grew, so did
her willingness to participate uninhibitedly in the program activities.
While our coaches like Fehmida conduct
program activities, they also play a crucial role in mentoring and building the
personalities of the children. This engagement positively influences the
children, inspiring and motivating them to participate. Playing the games
empowers them with new skills, like teamwork and leadership, along with the
space to think and act independently, elevating their confidence and trust in
Now, Khushboo has blossomed and is
a is a Right To Play junior leader, leading and encouraging other children to
participate in the program’s games.
“Coach Fehmida taught me the real
meaning of life and helped me have a purpose,” says Khushboo. “She was more than my teacher; she is my best
friend. She listens to me and offers me the best advice, whenever I need it.
She made me what I am today. Now, it is my responsibility to help others in
need because I have learnt empathy.”
In 2015, Right To Play launched the Play for
the Advancement of Quality Education (PAQE) program with the financial support
of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada. Active in eight
countries including Pakistan, PAQE uses Right To Play's experiential learning
methodology to build teacher capacity and remove barriers to education to
improve learning outcomes.