Stretched over an area of 1800 square yards, the WRRA Secondary School in Hajirabad Colony No 3, (now Shah Faisal Colony), is the living symbol of the sincere efforts of those women who first worked relentlessly to create this country and later knowing the fact that education is the key to success, opened this school for the children of this underprivileged area some sixty years ago. The beautiful architecture of this school building is a mix of modern and old architecture, driving some similarity from Indo-Islamic architecture developed by the Mughals in the 16th century. With arched terraces, fully ventilated bright open rooms and open playing yards and verandas of this 14-roomed white coloured building welcomes us with open arms like its founders who left their imprints in the form these institutions for the next generations to remember the sacrifices they rendered for this country called the “land of pure.” The place exuberates a unique sense of openness and freedom.
Soon after Begum Khurshid Hafiz Aziz, who was a close associate of Quaid-i-Azam and Mohtarma Fatima, established Hajirabad Colony for the destitute women who were coming from India after migration, she, on the motivation of Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, opened this school to cater to the children of these women who were now making families. This paved way for a primary school named after Begum Qayyum Khan, the wife of the then minister.
“I still remember the day when this school was inaugurated with Mohtama Fatima Jinnah cutting the tape and luminaries of the city attending this function,” explains Khalid-ul Aziz, Deputy Honourary Administrator of WRRA School and son of Begum Khurshid Hafiz, while recalling the history of Begum Qayyum School.
However, when the government of Pakistan nationalised all schools, this school also went under government’s control. On this Begum Khurshid under the leadership of Begum Ibrahim Rahimtoola (the wife of first Commerce Minister, who later became High Commissioner to the United Kingdom), along with other prominent ladies including Begum Dr Abdullah, Begum Ghani, Begum Aga Yusuf, who had struggled very hard to establish this school again contacted the then government to give them back their school. Though the school was not returned to them, but due to their constant pursuance, in 1972, the government allotted them a separate plot adjacent to Begum Qayyun School, for the current WRRA School, which was named after the Women Refugees Rehabilitation Association (WRRA), which was formed by Begum Khurshid Hafiz.
“A new struggle ensued as my mother along with other women raised funds and took personal interest in its construction and started it as a primary school. Seeing the quality and purposeful education, children of the area got attracted towards the school, and soon classes started in full swing.” WRRA School has a beautiful library with many books for the students.
“She was an ardent supporter of girls education and established other educational institutes in Karachi, including Sir Syed Girls College, Nazimabad, which is the biggest college of Karachi having an enrolment of 8500 girls, which is more than any big university of this city. Here in Hajirabad, she also constructed a community hall, an industrial home for women and a mosque “Hafizia Mosque, named after our father Syed Hafiz Aziz,” Khalid added.
Recalling the days when Begum Khurshid Hafiz used to come here, Ms Rizwana, the senior most teacher and deputy administrator and vice-principal of the school says: “She was a true patriot. On the occasion of Eid-i-Miladunnabi (SAW) she used to come here and would specially pray for Pakistan. This has inculcated in us the sense of patriotism for this country. It is indeed an honour to work in a school, which was established by those stalwarts of Pakistan movement who gave us this homeland to breathe and live freely.”
Since attaining the status of a secondary school in 1992, WRRA School has covered many milestones of success.
“Last year, it gave 100% result in matric exams. School owes its success to teachers like Sarfarazul Hassan, the acting principal and senior teacher of the school, who gives extra time at his home to teach children who underperform in the class to bring them at par with the rest of the class,” maintains Khalidul Aziz.
The school recently lost some of its enrollment when other schools in the adjoining areas were opened with lucrative offers like fee exemption, free uniform, books, etc. “Soon we will start our publicity campaign for this school. I am sure this will bring back the past glory of this school,” says Khalidul Aziz with a sense of optimism.
School is the living symbol of the sincere efforts of those women who first worked relentlessly to create this country and later knowing the fact that education is the key to success, opened this school for the children of this underprivileged area some sixty years ago. The beautiful architecture of this school building is a mix of modern and old architecture, driving some similarity from Indo-Islamic architecture developed by the Mughals in the 16th century
Khalid-ul Aziz with his school team