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What seemed to be typical lunch hour in sleepy Islamabad was suddenly interrupted by nearly 20 young girls and boys who assembled without warning to hold a ‘flash mob’ at a crowded intersection in....

Youth group hold ‘Flash Mob’ at Jinnah Super Islamabad

What seemed to be typical lunch hour in sleepy Islamabad was suddenly interrupted by nearly 20 young girls and boys who assembled without warning to hold a ‘flash mob’ at a crowded intersection in Jinnah Super Market yesterday. Hundreds of surprised passerby’s gathered within seconds to laud their performance. The group quickly dispersed after their dance-for-a-cause wrapped up. The entire show took less than 4 minutes! Hira, who led the youth group, speaking to the media said, “We held the flash mob to raise awareness about our sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR). We feel that it is high time parents and teachers begin to educate children about their rights. Our group has been strongly inspired by the ‘HAYAT’ campaign, which is currently working proactively across Pakistan to raise SRHR awareness of youth.” ‘HAYAT’ is Lifeline’s, a Lahore based NGO’s, mass awareness and advocacy campaign that focuses on raising awareness on the reproductive health rights of Pakistani youth. “Children undergo a lot of emotional and physical changes during adolescence. That is a part of growing up. How they deal with those changes and the support system they have during that time forms their personalities. It is important that children be given the right information from the right quarters during that period. Absence of proper guidance or information can lead children astray and expose them to exploitation,” Hira said in her statement to the media. “It is important that parents and teachers educate and guide growing up children about the different psychological and physiological changes without any inhibition,” Hira said. “We wanted to do something that would get people to sit up and pay attention. We deliberated different ideas and felt that a flash mob would be the best way to get it. We designed shirts and placards with messages highlighting SRHR information,” according to Hira. Some messages read: ‘More than 100 children are molested each month in Pakistan’, ‘Islam recommends 2 years birth spacing between pregnancies’, ‘We need education about our new health and hygiene needs during puberty’, ‘SRHR Education is Our Right!’ and ‘Islam encourages informing and educating youth about body physiology.’ “What a performance! I am impressed to see such responsible youth who want to better the lives of their counterparts,” said Sana Baig, a passerby. “The dance was an excellent break from routine. The cause was laudable. Great work!” said Ali Khan, a telecom executive. “We need more of these [flash mobs] to highlight causes. The youth of today is no more passive: it is now playing a proactive role and we have to address their demands,” said Mrs. Iqbal, a passerby. The flash mob was the first in Pakistan to raise awareness of a social issue.

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