London: (By Hannah Chowdhry) Soojal (10 yrs) wants to study and declares it before uncles who want him to work.
Badil Masih was sodomised and murdered by his employer Mr Mohammed Ikram and a cohort, in July 2019, for daring to seek full payment for work he had carried out at a scrapyard (click here).
British Asian Christian Association stepped in to pay for legal costs, and support the family financially as they challenged for justice. Despite clear evidence of a crime courts offered pre-arrest bail to the murderers who began to threaten the Christian family and key witnesses (click here).
Though Badil’s mother Shareefa remained stoic throughout the court process. The witnesses were nobbled by the murderers and their cohorts. They refused to testify and threatened to alter their statement if Shareefa continued to pursue justice. It is not known whether they succumbed to bribes, threats or both (click here).
In tandem with the ignominy of losing witnesses Shareefa suffered intensified threats of the murder of her remaining son. Unbeknown to British Asian Christian Association or our solicitor, Shareefa met in private with the opponent solicitor and agreed compensation terms for the murder of her son (click here).
The pain of her betrayal led to Shareefa dying from grief. Her remaining son Soojal (10 yrs) has been shunted between homes of maternal and paternal uncles and BACA attempted to place him in a boarding school. Read more (here)
After a maternal uncle agreed with us to allow Soojal to go to a boarding school, we found that once some funds had been raised Soojal had changed hands once again. This has left us in months of dilemma. A few of our donors have been asking about progress with Soojal and we have not been able to provide any.
Until now that is (please watch all videos before you move through our article). In the video above is obvious that the uncle had wanted Soojal to say he did not want to go to school. But Soojal has a strong desire for it. The Uncle had asked to pay for Soojal to attend a hairdressing course so he could work at the uncles parlour, but we refused. Soojal is too young to be working.
On Tuesday 29th March we managed to get Soojal admitted at a state school after he was declined by several private schools who refused him based on his lack of basic learning.
We are also currently speaking with a private school who are willing to take Soojal in to their establishment and provide him with the necessary learning he should have had for a 10 year old.
Initial costs including admission fees, books, stationary and equipment will now cost £150 and a monthly fee of £10 each month after that.
The family have also asked for help with the cost for them to support Soojal at an amount between £50 – £100. If you would like to help with these costs please donate by clicking (here).
The long delay was not only due to a need to find an appropriate school but having to deal with several sets of uncles who felt he should start work. In fact when we regained contact after threatening to report the uncles to the Child Protection Bureau, we discovered he had been helping a paternal aunt with construction work at her house. You can read the full turmoil that our officers faced below.
After his mothers death Soojal continued to live a transient life moving from house to house between his uncles. Soojal has not been going to school but has been working in a tyre shop wages of Rs. 60 a day.
When we met him after his mothers death and Soojal was very clear on what he had wanted. He wanted to go to school and get a decent education. He said:
“My mother wanted me to get an education she wanted me to be a police officer – I really want to achieve this for her.”
At the time Soojal was at the house of Sultan Masih who is a maternal uncle, at the time we also met with Faisal Masih, a paternal uncle. Both seemed agreed that a decent education would be the most progressive option for Soojal. At the time they even stated he could go to a boarding school as this would prevent the constant moving around between homes.
We had a whatsapp number for Sultan Masih and Faisal Masih and in December after a successful appeal we contacted Sultan Masih to tell him we could arrange admission of Soojal in Pakistan Adventist Seminary and College. Our Operations Manager was suddenly told by Sultan Masih that Soojal no longer lived with him and was now with a paternal uncle, but did not disclose who it was and stated he had no telephone number or address.
We called on the WhatsApp number Faisal Masih gave us and the line no longer existed. Concerned about Soojal’s safety we contacted Advocate Zubair Junjua who fought the case for Badil Masih’s murder he had no further contact details to share.
We sent an officer to Faisalabad to visit the house of Sultan Masih and he reiterated that he had no contact details.
In mid-February, Soojal’s uncle Faisal however replied to our offline messages. He messaged us to tell us that Soojal did not want to study and would not provide us with a direct contact.
We explained to him that we wanted Soojal to get education and that we had arranged for his admission at Pakistan Adventist Seminary and College. He straightforwardly refused, He said:
“Soojal is not living with me, he has gone to another relative”
We demanded to see Soojal to make sure he was ok, worried about him being passed around from family member to family member and not knowing if he was being put to work. Soojal’s uncle’s reply was difficult. He said:
“I will let you know when Soojal is with me so you can come.
“For Soojal to be admitted to school he must be willing to study.
“You should have checked this before seeking an educational institution.”
We reminded him that we have arranged for his admission only after agreeing this with both uncles after Soojal had requested help and support, while at Sultan Masih’s House.
His uncle Faisal seemed insistent that Soojal was not willing to study and was not capable.
Our Operations Manager became tired of Faisal’s excuses and indifference to our repeated requests. We were by now very concerned about the safety of Soojal. Our Operations Manager made it very clear in a voice message to Faisal that we would be calling the Child Protection Bureau, to find the whereabouts of Soojal and for them to ascertain his current condition.
Three days later, his uncle replied to our message and told us that Soojal is living with his aunty in Gujrat and was helping her in the construction of her house. He informed us that he had already sent a message to her, seeking for Soojal to be sent back to him so that the BACA team could meet the young boy.
On Sunday evening, 20th March 2022, Faisal Masih called us and told us that Soojal had come back from his aunty and we could come to visit him.
BACA team travelled the next morning to see Soojal and we were glad to see him healthy and well.
Soojal visited various schools with BACA officers and was left with a small gift for his efforts – he is such an endearing child and all our officers love him like their own.
While we were there Soojal’s uncle Faisal repeatedly told us that Soojal did not want to go to school and that he would be put through vocational training to become a hairdresser. This is because Faisal runs a Hairdressing Salon in his town. Faisal said:
“Soojal has no apptitude for studies”
Our Operations Manager was offended by this as he was a former teacher and lecturer. Who argued that he had never been given a chance to have an education. Soojal himself confirmed before his uncle that he wanted an education emboldened by the presence of the BACA team whom he is familiar with and has come to trust.
Faisal has now agreed to allow Soojal to study and we hope to enrol him on Monday 28th February 2022. The uncle has refused boarding school for now and we are limited to half-decent public schools in the nearby vicinity. Soojal will need extensive private tuition to enable him to catch up with all the school he has missed.
In the end, after lots of argument he agreed on sending Soojal to a local school. Soojal has now been admitted to a state school school near his village in Gujranawala.
Juliet Chowdhry, Trustee for British Asian Christian Association, said:
“Soojal has lost his mother who died from grief after her eldest son was raped and murdered by his employees at 10 years of age.
“His father is absent and was a heavy drug user it is not even known if he is alive.
“Soojal is being shunted around from family to family being made to work as deprived Christians cannot support his living costs.
“We are adamant that this child will get a decent education and did not give up despite what for a long time seemed like insurmountable blocks.
“Soojal wants to be a police officer so he can help people, despite all he has faced he wants to do good to others.
“His faith in God is unblemished and he continues to attend church – we believe he will grow to be a great ambassador for Christ