The EdJAM Children's Series is a collection of illustrated books for children designed by undergraduate students and illustrators to highlight historical and contemporary narratives that are missing from textbooks in Pakistan.
The story is about a teenager, Ahmed/Amal and their questioning of gender and sexuality. While located in the context of Pakistan, the story motivates readers to think about socially constructed categories of sex and gender, and the possibility of creating space for different genders and sexualities.
Writer: Wasib Iftikhar
Artist: Tooba Shahbaz
How the children’s series resources are being used to encourage critical pedagogies through praxis:
Students of MPhil Education Leadership and Management from the School of Education, Lahore University and Management Sciences (LUMS), Maham Afzal and Yusra Shaukat for their final term project under Dr. Razia Iram Sadik’s course “Reconceptualizing Curriculum with the Arts,” designed a six-day workshop in collaboration with one of the outreach programs at the Lahore Biennale Foundation, Youth Forum. The main objective behind these workshops was to provide a safe space to students from all socio-economic status SES backgrounds and to facilitate their understanding of the various nuances of gender through the lens of power and how gender becomes an identity marker and positions individuals within the fabric of society. This is a niche topic that schools have vastly overlooked. Additionally, the workshop has also embedded some concepts of environmental sustainability and ecological awareness and how disproportionate gender dynamics can further exacerbate the effects of climate change and global warming.
The rationale behind this curriculum was to introduce intersectionality in the classrooms that prompts political and social action. Moreover, to sensitize students about their surroundings and the various power structures around them so that they understand their role as active and responsible citizens. The curriculum is designed to encourage multiple voices and perspectives that ultimately are geared towards highlighting notions of privilege and oppression. The rationale was to bring in a model of critical pedagogy that not only advocates values of social justice and inclusivity but also espouses them through various instructional strategies. The Children’s Series by EdJam such as Jawari -The Legendary Queen of Gilgit by Shamim Bano was used during various storytelling sessions to amplify female voices from the peripheries. Similarly, This is My Story by Wasib Iftikhar was discussed via close reading to explore Transgender Identity. Also, a reading of Becoming Senator Krishna by Sanha Tahir was planned to understand how a woman belonging from a religious minority and a remote area could have potentially faced multiple barriers in realizing her dreams.
EdJAM would like to thank the team from LUMS, Maham Afzal and Yusra Shaukat, and their supervisor Dr. Razia Iram Sadik’s, for sharing the information (above) about their final year project which has utilised books from the Children’s Series. We would also like to thank the Lahore Biennale Foundation for their support and extensive feedback during the development of the curriculum, especially Ms. Qudsia Rahim.
Once this six day workshop has taken place, EdJAM hopes to be able to share further updates through a reflective blog post on our website.
Learn more about EdJAM Pakistan Children’s Series – Beautifully illustrated stories of historical and contemporary figures here