Stories about child

Don’t deny – defy dyslexia

The day Steve Jobs died my son came home from school and asked me: “Can I also please be dyslexic like Steve?” Dumbfounded I stared at him as he rambled on about Steve Jobs, about Mac and how “awesome” it was. Technological icon Steve Jobs left behind a silver bitten apple, a legacy of hard work and most importantly a realisation that learning differences are a gift – not a stigma. The problem Nobody truly knows the origins of learning differences. The spectrum is wide and deep, ranging from low attention span, weak memory, speech problems, auditory issues, literacy and numeracy challenges, vestibular and cognitive development and social interaction to behaviour issues ...

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An innie in an outie’s world

Growing up, I was such a quiet child, especially compared to my loud, older sisters that my parents would often forget me. They sometimes failed to remember they had a third child. Once, they lost me at a supermarket and realised it when the store manager called. Had it not been for him, I’d be a feral child living in aisle six gorging on cereal and candy bars for the rest of my life. No offense to my parents, they just didn’t know what to do with a little person like me. Innately introverted Had someone explained to them that I was innately ...

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Marie Colvin’s journalism of attachment

On Wednesday, another journalist was killed while covering the Syrian military operation in the city of Homs. Marie Colvin’s last broadcast, aired just hours before she died, was about the painful death of a child during the Siege of Homs. When CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper voiced some general concerns about the media showing gruesome images from conflict zones, Colvin replied by sharing her lifelong philosophy: communicating pain and suffering of the distanced “others” to the world in order to mobilise peace. The idea becomes even more significant in the context of international ...

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I’m sorry I never thanked you, Arfa Karim

She sat across from me in a swivelling chair, staring at me just as inquisitively as I was at her. She was the youngest Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) in the world – I had every right to gawk in awe. Arfa, on the other hand, was looking at me because she was just a child eager to make friends. “So, how was it?” I asked with unease. I couldn’t believe that I was intimidated by an 11-year-old. “How was what?” she asked, smiling. She still hadn’t lost the baby fat on her face, and I wanted to pinch her cheeks. She was Arfa Karim, the ...

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Facebook dangers: Satisfying our inner hero

Facebook, undoubtedly, has brought about an immensely significant social revolution over the past few years.  It is now not just any other social networking website. In more ways than one, Facebook is a virtual reflection of our personality, beliefs, ideologies, likes and dislikes, and so on. What Facebook has gradually accomplished is that it has given everyone a voice; it has given people to opportunity to express their opinion about any matter, no matter how sensitive or controversial, to several hundred people in just a matter of seconds by typing out a few lines. However, while this freedom to express ...

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‘Holy’ castration…what’s next?

A recently published story in The Express Tribune titled ‘Pir processing: toddler castrated to free him for temptation,’ September 12, poses stark questions with regards to how sexual violence is rapidly increasing in Pakistan and how the public and authorities are choosing to deal with it. The story itself involved a pir in Gujranwala who castrated a two-year-old boy in order to ‘make him a malang’. The child’s mother was complicit in the act and told reporters that she had promised her son to pir Haider Ali, who she insisted had ‘helped her conceive’ after eight of her children died. ...

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On World Literacy day, I made a child smile

On September 8, the world celebrated International Literacy Day. This day stressed the importance of learning, education and literacy to an individual, society and countries. While many countries like France, Germany, Finland celebrated this day with joy and counting their achievements, Pakistan is still in darkness and ignorance. Pakistan gained its independence from India in 1947. Sadly, today India’s literacy rate is much higher than that of Pakistan. This is due to many factors including political stability, child labour, extreme poverty, high unemployment, rural urban migration, high birth rate and low or no standard of government schools. The government in Pakistan is so ...

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Black metal, white terrorists and what Norway taught me

When I was 17-years-old, I was a trouble child. I was oscillating between depression and rage, my teachers and parents had no control over me, and most of all, I had a profound sense of being an outcast from the society that I lived in. To offset this overwhelming sense of alienation, I turned to the internet, my only window into a world outside my own. It was here that I actively sought to find meaning and to fill the gaping hole that my own society and culture could not fill. What I found, (amongst other things), was a one-man black ...

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How my driver said yes to contraception

My driver, Qasim, beamed at me in our car’s rear-view mirror. “Kara liya! Hum nay baccha band kara liya! Main nay apni biwi ka bachadaani operation say nikalwa liya” (We did it! We got permanent contraception! I got my wife to get an operation to get her uterus removed). I beamed back – the two of us, partners in glory. Strange conversation with a driver indeed. I settled in to my seat and thought back over the past few years. My mother was the first one to tell me about Qasim’s wife – pregnant with their eighth child, her listlessness and apathy had scared ...

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Would you marry an epileptic girl?

When I was younger, a pretty girl named Sarah* used to live in my neighborhood. I would often notice her on my way to school. Sarah was like any other girl, but a little quiet. I did not know much about her. Then, a few years back, her family moved away from our neighborhood. A few days before they left, the girl’s sister came to my house to meet my mother. She told my mother that her brother, an educated web developer, was not allowing Sarah to get married because she suffered from epilepsy. Her brother thought that after marriage, her husband and in-laws ...

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