LAHORE: The launching ceremony of a ‘Home School Education Programme’ of Youth Commission for Human Rights (YCHR), funded by the USAID, was held at the Lahore Press Club on Friday.Punjab Education Minister Rana Mashhood was the chief guest while Members Punjab Assembly Dr Noshin Hamid, Sadia Sohail Rana, Shunila Ruth and Mary Gill were also present on the occasion. The project is being implemented by the Youth Commission for Human Rights (YCHR) in the districts of Muzaffargarh and Lahore with the financial assistance of USAID Small Grants Ambassador’s Fund Programme.Highlighting the project details, Youth Commission for Human Rights Chief Executive Officer Shazia Khan said the project activities have been designed to address the needs of out-of-school children in the underdeveloped areas. She said the field survey conducted by the organisation in various areas of Muzaffargarh highlighted alarming facts regarding the status of out of school children. For instance, she said, the survey conducted in Basti Jhanger Mahara is brought to light the fact that nearly 93.4 percent of the children living in the locality were not attending school.A similar situation was identified in Basti Mehr, Basti Kundaywalla, Basti Mehmood Abad and Basti Ranghay Khan where 80 percent children were out of school and more than 70 percent children in Basti Nawa Khu, Basti Munda and Basti Usmanabad were not attending school, she added. The situation in Lahore, she explained, was found to be slightly better, but still nearly 35 percent children in Shera Kot and Shiblee Town were not going to school.Shazia said in response to the situation, her organisation has been training teachers in the two districts on setting up and operating non-formal multi-grade schools. As many as 20 such schools are being opened, 15 in Muzaffargarh and 5 in Lahore, where children between the ages of 5 years to 14 years would be provided an opportunity to get education, she said, adding that the teachers trained for the purpose would reach out to the parents of the out-of-school children and encourage them to enroll their children at these schools where they can get a chance to get education without any fee and at a time of their choice.Addressing the gathering, Provincial Minister Rana Mashhood congratulated the organisation for the initiative and said that Muzaffargarh was one of the least developed districts of Punjab and extending a helping hand to assist the national efforts to increase literacy is commendable.He said the government would make efforts to facilitate such interventions and advised the organisation to look into the possibility of starting skill development trainings for the youth, as it would help in income generation and improve the economic condition of poor.Dr Noshin Hamid, Sadia Sohail Rana, Mary Gill, Shunila Ruth, Zahid Islam and Tariq Rafiq also spoke on the occasion and appreciated the efforts of the organisation and the USAID in this regard.