Luke Rehmat,from Kalashadesh (Kalash valleys)
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Luke Rehmat (born Rustam Shah) belongs to an endangered Indigenous culture and language community Kalasha living in the wilderness of Hindu Kush Mountains District Chitral in Kalash valley Mumuret (Bumboret) on the boarder of Pakistan with Afghanistan. Kalasha are the last remaining ethnic tribe numbering 4100 people speaking the ancient Indo-Aryan language Kalasha-mondr besides practicing an ancient ancestral belief system and Pre-Islamic culture dating back to 327 B.C. Ethnographic researches on Kalasha origins point towards Proto-European movement in south Asia movement through marshal-expedition of Alexander the Great.
Luke Rehmat is one of the member studied from different institutions in Pakistan. Luke is working on number of initiatives. He is actively working as a Social Entrepreneur and Founder/CEO of Kalash People's Development Network, Kalasha Academy for Computer Sciences, KACoS, Ishpata News Network and working with number of other national organizations in District Chitral. Luke worked as District Network Coordinator of ALIF AILAAN (Transforming Education Pakistan), District Coordinator KHUDI PAKISTAN and District Coordinator Tabeeli Razakars of Pakistan Terek-e-Insaf, PTI.
He is also working with a local support organization (Ayun and Valleys Development Programme, AVDP) as Language and Culture Development Officer. He recently joined state media Pakistan Television News, PTV News/World as a correspondent for Kalash/Chitral.
A brief profile of Luke Rehmat
Luke belonging to a small ethnic family of Kalash known as Aspa’I’n’ Nawaw. His family remained farmer and shepherd. His grandfather was a shepherd. His family remained illiterate and was very keen to keep goats and farming. His grandfather was alone and his father again only son of his parents, grandfather was shepherd but in middle age he got some injuries and lost his one eye. He remained ill for decades; grandmother was blind in early her teenage. When she was young and playing with kids some sands went in her eyes and become blind, because there was no health facility in the valley. She was unable to walk and was not able to travel by jeep; she remained at home for her entire life. His father and mother are alive and working hard. They cannot go to school but his mom felt that if she cannot went to school but felt importance of education for him. His family is a big family consisting of 12 members and he have 07 sisters two are married and 05 sisters are younger and he is only son of his parents again, but Luke got married with Guliyar in 2001 and Dezau (Creator) gifted him , two sons and one daughter. His mom used to took him to school every day. But he was not willing to go to school he was fallen in love with goats same like his forefathers. Several times he left school but his mom and a teacher re-admitted him and he continue his studies after passing class 7th he moved to Mardan the aim was to learn cricket not studies here it was a big turnout for him. He left cricket and started loving his studies and he was studying science In urdu medium although he was willing to study in English, but his poor educational background does not allow him to get into English medium school. After passing 8th class he went to Peshawar and got admission at City Grammar School and started English medium classes but in Oct 2001 he got married and faced lot problems unfortunately he remained ill for long time and failed in exams especially mathematics that remained very tough for him. He was decided that he will not cheat in exams and therefore he appeared four times for maths exams ultimately after 02 years he passed and never disappointed and keep his struggle for quality education. In 2005 he went to Institute of Computer and Management Sciences, Hayatabad Peshawar and here he did his F.Sc pre-medical part one and then migrated to Chitral at The Langlands School and College Chitral. He has done F.Sc part two from here but during his final exams Dezau (the Creator) blessed him with a son and he named him Lucky and he remained in hospital for weeks at the same time when he was giving exams. God helped him and he has passed F.Sc with 53% marks.
In August 2007 he went to Islamabad at Marriot hotel and here they people sent him to Murree for internship at PC, Pearl Continental Hotel. During his internship he come know about B.Sc (Hons) in governance and organizational sciences a joint degree program of National University of Modern Languages, NUML and UTREACH university of Holland. He was fascinated and very excited to join this program as he was a social worker and founder of Kalash People’s Development Network, KPDN in 2005 when he was in first year at college.
He was very keen to study governance and organizational sciences therefore he applied for this course when he come to know from NUML sources that this course is new if there have few students then they might unable to initiate the course. Therefore he had also applied for BE.SE software engineering as well. At the same time he had given test for both and his interviewer said to him that you will drop from both why did you applied for two programs at a time? He do not know how he have managed and passed both and qualified for two programs as he was prioritized governance and organizational sciences. He joined NUML in 2008 and started his university life. But the first semester was not satisfactory for him. He failed in economic. During summer vacation he did not went to Kalash and remained in Peshawar, during those days he come to know that his grand mom passed away and his family did not informed him regarding her death, because he was far away and there were exams at his end therefore his family thought not to informed him. Soon after a week he received a call from his brother-in-law that his sister named Amir Gul is unconscious after death of Grand mom he came to home and she recovered after few days.
He went back after few days, but again he come to know that his sister is unconscious since last 05 days again. He become so sad and urged his family to bring her down to Peshawar. When she arrived in Peshawar she was very serious he immediately admitted her at Khyber Teaching Hospital Peshawar. Here she recovered after 45 days and he missed his classes at university because he was only brother and was responsible for everything, his family members were unable to handle the situation and he was only one who could communicate with others in the city. During his stay in hospital he has coordinated all situations with his concern department. He have met concerns of his department twice and they have allowed him to continue second semester. When he resumed his classes there was a week for mid-term exams, within a week he had given tough time and secured 3rd position in mid-term exams. He has strong determination to continue his studies and was very happy to continue his studies. Suddenly the head of department left the university. She went to UK for P.hD. The new HoD was an army general, the dark time for his studies came with his appointment he dropped him for 1 % attendance shortfall. And he could not beard the injustice done with him therefore he had a press conference at Melody press club Islamabad. For more details click on the link: Press Release on The Kalasha Times 2008
Those days created financial constrain as well, but some of his friends helped him during miserable days and all his family resources wasted due to bad governance of NUML. His case was active again by Chitral Students Welfare Organization, They met rector of NUML and his case forwarded to dean of the department. He met dean and she told him that the case will be forward to HoD in this way once more he was delighted that he might be able to get back for his studies according to the re-admission policy. After a week he went to dean and she told him that his petition was rejected by HoD. The head of department has alleged him for miss-behavior, because he had press conference against the university.
When all doors closed for him to continue his studies he returned to home and faced tough time again his community was not happy because he was unable to study and his mission and vision not allow him to do government or private jobs. Several opportunities knocked his doors but he remained committed with his own initiatives.
He felt a need of good governance for rural community. The educational facilities offered in different institutes are not sufficient for people like him. He was not satisfied with educational institute and constantly thinking for his community and people having poor financial background. If he was dropped and cannot afford expenses even he is only son of his parents, then those his fellows how can go for best university. There is no space for them. Although he received many opportunities onward but he cannot avail due to one and other reasons and still there are some opportunities opened for him to continue his studies. He is sure he will go for university again, but do not understand what is there for him in next few minutes and he believe Dezau has already planned something for him and that will be happening at any time.
He started struggling for free and quality education for all through his organization and recently jointed Alif Ailaan education campaign as a district network coordinator for Chitral, because it was his desired that every child in this country must be getting education in safe environment. For this noble cause he is working and willing to continue his efforts.
There is famous words ‘’efforts never lost and will bring fruit any time’’ he is achieving his goals and he is working to enroll every child for education, because education means ‘’understanding’’ if a child know what to do or where to go. He/she has a direction and he/she can achieve whatever he/she wants. For him education would be compulsory for every child in Pakistan in order to resolve issues within Pakistan.
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