Educator Doğan Yücel wrote about the field trips and social activities participated by PakTurk students while he was working in Lahore. Yücel also reminded that ministerial bureaucrats from Turkey visited the PakTurk School.
Besides excursions, many social activities were held at PakTurk Schools. Some of the visits we made with our students should be mentioned here. To augment the social responsibility of our students, we along with a group of 7th graders visited homeless people who lived in simple, makeshift tents in Lahore. The homeless sincerely answered the questions asked by our students. As one benefit of the visit, our students appreciated and valued the blessings they had.
In schools across Turkey, April 23 National Sovereignty and Children’s Day is celebrated enthusiastically with the participation of children from many countries. We wanted to celebrate this day, which was gifted to children as a festival. On that occasion, a group of PakTurk students visited Mr. Mian Tajammal Hussain, the Honorary Consul of Turkey in Lahore, in his office and presented him bouquets. During the visit, speeches about the meaning of the day were also delivered.
Travelling 500 km to play snowballs!
As PakTurk, we had at least one travel destination every year for all our students in the 6th grade and above. We took our students to Islamabad and Murree as part of a three-day excursion program in two groups in January 2007. Playing snowballs under the snow in Murree was a feeling that many of our students had not experienced before. It was necessary to travel 500 kilometres to taste this feeling.
Trips in Lahore had become a tradition in our school. Shahi Qila, Badshahi Masjid, Public Library, Lahore Museum, and Lahore Zoo were among many places we visited with our students. The joy of our students, who knew their city better than us, could be seen in their eyes. Our trips continued without a hitch. In November 2006, we organized a trip to the Business Recorder daily and the Aaj TV channel with a group of 6th graders to see the media centres up close and understand how the media professionals worked. The visits were very beneficial and our students found answers to their questions about the world of media.
During that academic year, numerous dignitaries and professionals from Turkey, Pakistan and worldwide also visited our school. Among the visitors were businesspeople, tourists and politicians like the then-Turkish Minister for Industry and Trade, Ali Coşkun. He toured the school and chatted with some of our students.
Visit of Minister of Industry Coşkun and his delegation
Coşkun had come to Pakistan with a delegation from Turkey to attend the halal certification meetings for Islamic countries held at the Pearl Continental Hotel. As the only Turkish community in Lahore, we went to visit the delegation. I accompanied those who wished to buy Pakistani hand-woven carpets. Meanwhile, our school principal Mr. Turgut accompanied Minister Coşkun and the bureaucrats who wished to visit the school. Although our school building was not eye-candy in appearance and equipment to host guests the Minister and his delegation, who had conversed in Turkish with the students, left satisfied. School administration also presented them local souvenirs. I took the Turkish food engineers who wished to buy hand-woven carpets to the Turkmen carpet makers’ shops on Nicholson Road. After shopping around and bargaining hard, we bought a few small rugs sized to fit in the trunk of a car.
In February 2007, a delegation of 170 people from Kayseri, who had attended the ground-breaking ceremony of our new school project in Islamabad, visited Lahore. After the daytime city tour, a dinner was hosted by the Governor of the Punjab at the Governor’s House. During the day, historical and touristic places such as Shahi Qila and Wagha Border had been visited and souvenirs had been bought. The delegation included the civil administrators and prominent industrialists and businesspeople from Kayseri.
To be continued…