Earlier this month, a family of four lost one of its daughters, Amal Umer, in a crossfire between muggers and police. 10-year-old Amal, who had been a student at the Centre for Advanced Studies (C.A.S.) in Karachi, left many hearts shattered at the news of her untimely death.
The news spread like wildfire on social media where people who knew the family and strangers alike, expressed their grief and extended their support and prayers to the grieving family.
Less than 15 days after the tragic incident, a special edition newsletter of one of the school’s publications – Neemtree – has been released in her memory. The newsletter pays tribute to Amal and includes messages from her friends and classmates. Some wrote about how kind and helpful she was while others shared more specific memories – how they laughed at jokes together, how she was the first friend they made at school and how she would always make them smile when they were sad.
One student wrote, “She had a heart made of gold” and reading all the heartfelt tributes from her grieving classmates leaves one with no doubt that Amal Umer, was in fact, blessed with a big heart but unfortunately, too short a life.
The newsletter includes pictures of Amal in school, with her best friends, Zainab and Azka and pictures of her painting as well as her artwork. There are messages for her from her best friends as well.
And a drawing by her younger sister, Aanya, in which she has depicted Amal painting on an easel while she (Aanya) is shown in a corner with the caption, “I am a bit far away”.
Breaks your heart, doesn’t it?
There are also tributes for Amal in the newsletter by the principal of C.A.S., Mr. Sami Mustafa, as well as other members of the faculty and staff. In a heart-wrenching message, Mr. Mustafa wrote how one doesn’t fully grasp tragedy until one comes face-to-face with it. His closing words are bound to leave readers in tears…
“A tall neem tree stands dedicated to your sweet memory, a reminder of eleven years of joy, and a lifetime of unbearable grief.”
An English Literature teacher wrote a poem in her memory, urging students to keep her memory alive while other members of the school staff penned tributes to her, recalling how soft-spoken and pleasant she had always been.
Her Grade 5 class teacher wrote about her neatly braided hair and her meticulous work. She reminded students to learn from Amal and the tragedy – make each day count, love unconditionally and always be caring and compassionate. She urged them to make this their ‘amal’.
And last but not the least, is a touching note from her family. How they had the strength to write the words is beyond us but they wrote about how loving, creative and generous Amal had been, and how much she was loved in return by all who knew her. Their words will truly make Amal come alive for everyone who reads them…
“May you be painting, crafting, playing, making all kinds of slime, watching something as entertaining as Netflix, and having a wonderful time with all the other angels and cute cuddy animals in the beautiful gardens of heaven up above.”
According to this special edition of Neemtree, the school has dedicated a neem tree in the main C.A.S. campus in Amal’s memory. Amal’s father had helped transplant the said tree from Gharo to the campus when it was built back in 2004. The school has also instituted an award – the Amal Umer Award – which will be given to one student of Grade 6 for outstanding academic and co-curricular performance in the academic year 2018-19.
The Neemtree has four issues in a year and is published by the students of the Senior Section of C.A.S. It is an 8-page newspaper, written and designed by the students themselves and its content includes articles, surveys, letters to the editor, sports news, comments, events and activities held each quarter.
We appreciate the school’s efforts in paying a tribute to Amal and keeping her memory alive and we offer our continued prayers to all her family and friends to deal with this irreplaceable loss.
May the Almighty protect all children (Aameen).