A few schools in Pakistan have started providing sex education for girls, a topic that was considered taboo in the highly conservative Muslim nation has now been seen as a revolutionary movement. Undertaken by the Village Shadabad Organization, this education is given to the girls who are eight years and above, stressing on topics like puberty, rights issues as well as self-defense in the case of an attack. Currently, the organization covers eight schools, which enroll almost 700 girls every year.
Head of the Shadabad Organization, Akbar Lashari pointed out that while no one would want to talk about sex and its related topics, there was no way one could just close his/her eyes and pretend that these things did not exist.
Very few institutions in Pakistan provide sex education in an organized manner while many other places have banned it outright. However, the residents of the Johi Village in the country’s Sindh province have supported the scheme wholeheartedly. And rightly so. Studies reveal that many girls in these villages tend to reach puberty without even realizing it while some girls would get married without even knowing anything about sex. The lessons also focus on marital rape where girls are taught that their husbands cannot have sex with them without their consent.
The sex education lessons are taught along with the more traditional subject, with parents being informed of the curriculum even before the girls are enrolled in the schools. The schools operated by the organization have also received a sponsorship from an Australian mining company called BHP Billiton.
The revolutionary sex education program has also caught up with several private schools in Pakistan. However, it has faced opposition from several arenas owing to the fact that the nation’s tradition forbids young individuals from having sex before marriage. The President of the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation, Mirza Kashif Ali claimed that sex education was against the Islamic religion and constitution.
Tahir Ashrafi who happens to be the leader of the Pakistan Ulema Council Alliance of moderate clerics has however, welcomed the idea by saying that lessons about sex are permissible under the Islamic law provided that the girls undertaking these lessons are properly segregated. He also added that female teachers could impart theoretical knowledge about sex to girls within the limits of the Islamic Sharia law.
In a country like Pakistan where even talking about sex is considered sacrilegious, an organization called the Village Shadabad Organization has decided to offer sex education to young girls aged eight and above. The lessons would focus on puberty, sex, self-defense and marital rape etc. While several organizations have deemed this practice to be against the Islamic laws, the organization has gained support from the villages its schools are located in, and plans to continue imparting sex education as a part of the regular school curriculum to age appropriate girls.