1 September 2010
Last updated at 01:41
As children in the West prepare to return to school after the summer break, these would-be pupils in flood-ravaged north-western Pakistan gather every day outside their badly-damaged primary school. But it could remain closed for another two weeks.
"Everything in my school - the furniture, stationery and records - was washed away in the floods," says Anis Ahmed, 10, standing with his father Syed Gulzar Ali Shah, 40, head teacher of the school in Nowshera district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
But when school’s out, what are children to do but run and play? These spirited and resilient youngsters at the unofficial Mundhighaz relief camp in Nowshera make the best of being homeless and hungry.
Some make a splash in the muddy water that has deluged the area. The floods are receding in the north-west, but inundations continue in southern Pakistan as the waters drain down the Indus river to the Arabian Sea.
These relief camp youngsters are playing adda kadda, a Pakistani version of noughts and crosses.
A child blowing bubbles in the government relief shelter at Nowshera. "School is closed; nothing to do in the camps, so I find it fun," he says.
"We are happy that we can play around the camp, but we are not happy about heat and flies," say Nazia (left) and Uzma.
But relief camp life can be tedious. This girl watches ripples in a puddle after tossing in a stone. She is among up to eight million people displaced by the deluge.
Three hungry children share a plate of food in the government camp at Nowshera. They do not know where their next meal is coming from.
Despite the despair, dreams don't die: "When school reopens, I will continue working to become a doctor. It's very important for me as I saw my grandmother die paralysed and untreated," says 10-year-old Gulzar, who is living at the camp in Mundhighaz.