Education is the backbone driving the society in this day and age. Unfortunately in Pakistan this backbone is rather weak due to non-availability of this blessing to the majority of the population, even when there are thousands of young minds ready to be taught and their talents ready to be taped. The dearth of this right is a consequence of various factors; poverty, outdated social norms and stereotypes being just the tip of the ice berg. One such story is of 14 year old Shumaila who rather than engaging herself in learning and the other normal things that children of her age ought to be doing was forced to take care of her family and work to make ends meet.
Shumaila’s father Mohammad was a local carpenter in a small village near Vehari of Punjab Province and worked vigilantly to provide for his family. Unfortunately, during a construction project in a house there was an accident and his right hand was crushed under some falling debris. His hand was amputated and thereafter he was rendered unable to carry out his normal function. His physical weakness and inability to provide for his family made him a bitter man and thus he was unable to maintain a steady job anywhere. Seeing this little Shumaila along with her mother, decided to take matters into their own hands. Her mother started working as a domestic help and Shumaila worked from her home assembling decoration flowers in order to provide for her family (which includes two little brothers). As a result her education came to a halt. When our team at FMH system heard about her story through the outreach workers, they visited the household and after surveying the circumstances offered to provide for Shumaila’s basic educational needs. The family was overjoyed and agreed happily.
Now Shumaila is back in school and is aspiring to become a nurse as she was inspired by the circumstances in her house and wants to serve humanity. As the saying goes a child without education is like a bird without wings. Thanks to your contribution, this child has regained her wings and is now on her way to skies.
It is no easy task to pursue education in a country like Pakistan where education is considered a luxury for all children, but even more so for girls. The high costs associated with sending a child to school is one of the major barriers that stand in the way of a girl receiving education. Sadiqa is one such girl who had the mis-fortune to discontinue her studies and take care of her siblings when her father lost his job. She had to stay at home for almost half a year while her brother continued to go to school.
The Fatima Memorial Hospital team met with Sadiqa and inquired about her situation she said that when her father was able to find another job, she had expressed her desire to go back to school but her father wouldn’t let her go back because he said he couldn’t afford the educational costs of sending two children to school. The Fatima Memorial Hospital team requested Sadiqa’s parents to let her return to school, but her family especially her father relented. He said that as much as he would like to send her to school, it will be too much for his family to bear the cost of her uniform, textbooks, and bus fare. When the Fatima Memorial Hospital System team offered to take care of her finances and pay for the basic materials she would need to back to school, her family readily agreed to let her go back to school. Sadiqa said, “I can’t believe someone is willing to pay for my pens and books. I am very happy and feel like a free bird.”
Almost 5 months have passed and Sadiqa is regularly going to school. She wants to become a teacher when she grows up and teach other girls. She is a strong supporter of female education. Her class teacher, Uzma Naheed says that her academic performance is improving with each day.
Due to support of her teachers, Fatima Memorial Hospital and donors like you, we have been able to free this little bird and let her resume her flight.
Please join hands with us and give wings to many other birds like Sadiqa, who want to fly.
The world celebrates UN International Day for the Girl today on 11th October, 2013.The fulfilment of girls’ right to education is first and foremost an obligation and moral imperative. There is also overwhelming evidence that girls’ education, especially at the secondary level, is a powerful transformative force for societies and girls themselves: it is the one consistent positive determinant of practically every desired development outcome, from reductions in mortality and fertility, to poverty reduction and equitable growth, to social norm change and democratization.
While there has been significant progress in improving girls’ access to education over the last two decades, many girls, particularly the most marginalized, continue to be deprived of this basic right. Girls in many countries are still unable to attend school and complete their education due to safety-related, financial, institutional and cultural barriers. Even when girls are in school, perceived low returns from poor quality of education, low aspirations, or household chores and other responsibilities keep them from attending school or from achieving adequate learning outcomes. The transformative potential for girls and societies promised through girls’ education is yet to be realized.
Recognizing the need for fresh and creative perspectives to propel girls’ education forward,we should play our part in voicing the girls' rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. One great inspiration is Malala, who stood against all odds and played her little yet vital part.
Malala Yousafzai’s is a role model and mentor for huge percentage of young girls of Pakistan seeking or dreaming education for their future. Malala’s courage, confidence and understanding that education is imperative for positive change is a threshold for changing the stereotype which is infecting our society and preventing education of girl child in Pakistan.
Over 5.1 million primary school-aged children are out of school in Pakistan - the third highest number of out-of-school children in the world - and 63% of them are girls. While the Pakistan government has legislated for education for all, education remains drastically under-funded at 2.4% of GDP, a decrease from 2.7% in the preceding year - despite a government commitment of 4%. Pakistan does have Article 25-A (after 18th Amendment, the State is responsible for providing free education for children between 5-16 years of age) in Pakistani constitution which demandsprovision of free education for all in Pakistan, but sadly the desired practical adaptation and implementations that comes under the context of this article has not seen in Punjab province, and Punjab is still struggling to formally recognize the right of every child to a free and compulsory education, resulting in huge percentage of out-of-school children in region especially girls.
Poverty is a major cause of gender disparity in education and is observed in Pakistan. When poor families feel forced to make a choice between educating their sons or daughters, girls are often left out. A boy is sometimes seen as a better investment because he will eventually provide for the family, while a girl may soon be married off. As such, cultural bias often means that girls cannot access one of their most basic rights that is education.
The time for action is now. The Pakistani government, people of Pakistan, and the international community must come together to formulate efficient measures for a more gender-sensitive, culturally viable system of education that caters to both girls and boys. It is now up to us to provide assistance and ensure that Malala’s dream of education for all is realized.
Let’s just think, our donation will eliminate the reasons for a girl child for not being enrolled in schools. By donating we will hel p a girl child win her uniform, books, tuition fee and we will help her get educated for her better future. She will be learning to stand with honor and dignity, she will be educating her own children to be civilizedand to play positive role in ensuring educated nation. She may be earning for herself, living her dreams and supporting her family. Just a sum of money donated form our pockets will make her life as she wants to live, as Malala wishes her to live.
Its just 230 young girls to take care for this year. Lets change their lives by donating. Lets donate as we wont get this opportunity again in our lives for serving for a Nobel cause. Lets be a catalyst for change by joining NUR in this journey for making dreams come true of these girls who are looking at us and waiting for this diminutive support. Lets give ourselves opportunities to stand in a place where we will be thankful by a needy girl, and her family and by the nation which requires educated girls who will be educated mothers and will ensure a good nation.
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