Asad, a 15 year-old from a government school, is busy in his science project. He aims to exhibit it in the upcoming Laar Science Festival. Asad seems very excited with the prospect, “I love to do things like this. Before it was just circle of friends who liked my interests, now I am happy that everyone would see my work,” he says. To observe a child from this region busy in science related activities seems a miracle because no one envisioned this cultural transformation a few years back in a region dominated by the feudal and illiterate mindset. Children like Asad draw their inspiration from the children of Thar, an even more backward area then his region. The Thar Science Festival was held in February this year and was covered by not only national but international media as well. This was a welcome change as hardly anyone hears positive news coming from these regions. Tharparkar remains in news due to child malnutrition and drought hit news, like Thatta. Children like Asad never get the chance to showcase their talents but, now Asad and company are ready to change this.Social innovation strategist Prem Sagar shared that Laar Science Festival, on one hand, is an opportunity to explore the hidden talent of Badin Sujawal and Thatto pertaining to STEM, on the other hand it serves the purpose of action based advocacy to influence Sindh government to foster science learning in all public-sector schoolsTeam Thar Education Alliance (TEA) is the force behind the collaboration of the Laar Education Campaign, as well as organizations; Campaignistan, Child Rise, Shell Pakistan, SMEDA and Sindh Government’s Education Department. These bodies are in continuous struggle to ignite the spark of science in children and to replace the negativity caused by the backwardness of these areas.This growing trend has also attracted many progressive figures of Sindh like Saif Samejo, Asghar Khoso and others. The canvas of this festival is larger due to encouragement from prominent figures like Wasatullah Khan, Zaiuddin Yousafzai, Syed Sardar Ali Shah and Nawab Taimur Talpur. The two-day festival which is going to be held on 14-15 December is one more step to strengthen the foundation of science culture built by the inception of Thar Science Festival. TEA Chief Executive Officer Partab Shivani said that as it’s the era of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), TEA focuses on maths and science and holds science festival in districts where students have poor grading in SAT (Standardised Achievement Test). At present the organisation’s focus is on Laar region and especially in Thatta and Sujawal, he added.“TEA’s objective is that the Sindh Government should equip science labs, provide subject specialist and promote inquiry based science education, he said. Thatta Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Nawaz Soho said, “I invite children, parents, teachers and locals to come and see the talent of our children at Laar Science Festival, organised by the TEA. Here we will show you that our children are best at all levels if they are given opportunities like Laar Science Festival”.“I will request all the media persons and school system administration to participate in such wonderful program to create a healthy environment for our children. By doing so we may be able to meet the standards set for quality education in our region,” he added.Social innovation strategist Prem Sagar shared that Laar Science Festival, on one hand, is an opportunity to explore the hidden talent of Badin Sujawal and Thatto pertaining to STEM on the other hand it serves the purpose of action based advocacy to influence government of Sindh to foster science learning in all public sector schools.“I envision education as an instrument for social transformation and evolution; explicitly focusing on rights of access and quality of education for children of Sindh,” he said.Campaignistan CEO Farhad Ahmed Jarral said the reason behind organising such festivals is to create student’s interest in learning from others and to be creative in designing their models.Young children show a natural interest in STEAM subjects, and research shows that we can harness that curiosity. Math and Science are the subjects which lead towards development of any nation and we need to emphasise more on these subjects, and in the later phase take these activities to villages where children need it the most, he added.Published in Daily Times, December 14th 2018.