About Bakarwal Mobile School

When Mumtaz met a linguist studying Gojri in 1999 he was a normal Bakarwal shepherd, who, like the vast majority of people from his community, had never had the opportunity to learn how to read and write. Due to migrating with their sheep, goats and horses between the mountainous Kaghan Valley in the summer and the Himalayan foothills in the winter, his family was unable to attend any form of schooling. Even though Mumtaz was too old for formal schooling he had a desire to learn how to read and write.

Using a rudimentary Gojri curriculum, Mumtaz was taught to read and write in his own language, Gojri, and the national language, Urdu. This basic curriculum was later developed into the full course that Bakarwal Mobile Schools offers today. Like most Bakarwal in this area, Mumtaz's family felt the desire to educate their children so they could better cope with the rapidly changing world around them. Through this desire, and the literacy skills he had only recently acquired, Mumtaz started a mobile school in his own summer camp.

This marked the start of Bakarwal Mobile Schools in Northern Pakistan. Khanbaz, Mumtaz's youngest brother, was one of the first students in this school and quickly became proficient in reading, writing and math. Later he began assisting Mumtaz in teaching the younger students. Over time Mumtaz began to take on more responsibilities within the growing BMS project as a supervisor and mother-tongue curriculum specialist.

When these responsibilities began to take Mumtaz away from his own students Khanbaz stepped in to fill the gap. Later Khanbaz was given official BMS teacher training and was appointed as a Mobile School instructor. Through his teaching, each child in their camp has the opportunity to read and write; something unheard of before the program was established. The Bakarwal nomads in Northern Pakistan continue to witness how a whole community can benefit from one man’s desire to read and write.

hope in the midst of tragedy
In the Beginning
A shepherds life
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