Opinion | Goodwill in the form of Army Goodwill schools.

Education can be a sustainable tool for achieving post conflict peace and providing stability to the areas afflicted with conflict. It means instilling hope and positivity as well as offering opportunity to the youth who were surrounded by violence. Indian Army has done a wonderful job as a part of goodwill gesture by the initiative of ARMY GOODWILL SCHOOLS to arrest the aspirations of those who hate modernism, Science and Democracy. The counter militancy strategy adopted by the efforts of Indian Army aided on one hand elimination of armed militancy and on the other won hearts of local population through developmental activities. The current approach has paid rich dividends to keep the populace in the mainstream and engagement of youth in constructive activities. Besides, defending borders and counter insurgency operations, the army in J&K has extended mandate to rebuild lives of people by different initiatives. Love and empathy towards Indian Army are more at the border regions as Indian Army has worked as Caretaker of these areas by even providing basic facilities. Kudos to the Jawans for insulating borders and at the same time injecting love and affection within the hearts and souls of people at peripheries. During my childhood I remember, militants even engaged students at middle schools for their filthy aspiration. My classmate in class 8th was kidnapped along with another boy from locality. Though, my classmate who works with police today escaped but the other one never returned. I remember going along a lane whereby my neighbor and schoolmate Iftikar Amhad lone were going towards the school and it was the last day of school for that boy. He never came back. Militants had no mercy on these school lads as well. I remember cutting of throat was order of the day. I remember, Ameen Ahmad Shiekh the most humorous boy ever confronted in life was killed by militants. I remember, Suhaib Ahmad Wani my school mate who used to play cricket with me all day in backyard was shot many times by militants though he survived. I remember many things. I remember how militancy ruined education as they consider educational institutions as those representing the legitimacy and authority of a state. By attacking and engaging students, they fulfill their objective of undermining the legitimacy of authority. Parents refused to send kids to school, and proponents of modern education were gunned down. Army Goodwill Schools translated into a beacon of hope during the bad break.
Years of militancy have put immense psychological pressure on the children which reflects in the form of increased insecurity about their academic pursuits and their career prospects in the highly competitive world. To make matters worse, children and adolescents exposed to all conflict are at high risk of developing mental health problems. To ensure the emotional and mental wellbeing of students as well as to reduce the probability of dropping out of school, the schools have engaged them in alternative productive activities. Students at Army Goodwill schools have made an impact all around. With sports achievements, academic excellence and other accomplishments, the schools have made an exemplary mark. Due to lack of exposure to mirrored career opportunities that are open to the youth today the schools hold counselling sessions making students aware of different options scaling their capabilities. From eradicating militancy to creating centers of excellence these schools stand as an epitome of army’s dedication for bettering the lives of the local population.
As, Indian Army is doing commendable job, we must propel projects like the initiatives of Army goodwill Schools keeping in mind that same template can’t be applied everywhere and if we go wrong in identification, it can only be counterproductive. Pakistan may renew its strategies of infuriating and injecting venom of hate and prejudice. Youth is most susceptible to the influence of these dirty strategies of Pakistan. Hope peace, prosperity and progress prevail.