Drawing a Brighter Future

On Easter Sunday 2015, two suicide bomb blasts ripped through neighbouring churches in Youhanabad, Lahore, killing 15 and injuring around 70.

It’s hard for us to imagine what it’s like for Christian children in Youhanabad growing up in such a hostile environment. Young girls live in fear of abduction, forced conversion and forced marriage. Religious minorities are treated as second-class citizens and live with the threat of violence and verbal abuse.

On top of this, schools in Pakistan perpetuate this discrimination. Each day children are taught from textbooks that encourage hatred and violence against people who don’t follow the majority faith.

In April 2017, we visited a Christian school in the area and invited the children to share their feelings and experiences through art.

Some of the responses reflected the trauma these children feel. But the overriding theme that came through was hope – the desire in young people to find a new way to live in peace alongside those of other faiths.

Ealya, 21

“In Pakistan, all religions are one together. We are all human beings.”

Qasim, 17

 “This is the world. If we have a problem, then all religions share it together.”

Komal, 19

“The dove goes out and brings back an olive branch.” Komal, 19, shared that the dove was sent out into a world of perils, and returned with an olive branch, the sign of peace.

“We think about the bombs, and we are afraid of them.”