By Jahanara Shiraz - Manager, Academics (Non-formal Education)
Hi, I'm Aqsa Zulfiqar Ali. I come from a poor family and that used to mean I could not afford an education. When I would see other kids going to school I would think - if only I could go to school, I would study so hard and support my parents.... But all I could to was household chores. Then one day someone told my mom about Zindagi Trust (and their schools for working children). I was delighted to hear that there was a way I too could get an education!
I received my primary education at a Zindagi Trust school. I am now a Class 8 student at Allama Iqbal Public High School and the trust is still supporting the cost of my education. My favourite subject is science and I want to continue my studies beyond school.
I study in the morning and in the evenings I work in a beauty parlour to support my parents. I make a hundred rupees (about a dollar) every day. Working at a salon made me realize that education is very important in every field of life. The goal behind my drive for education is my dream of becoming a doctor. If I achieve this dream, I will treat poor patients free and make my parents and my country proud. I want to say two things about education: It is the duty of every Muslim woman and man to acquire an education. Educate yourself, even if it means you have to go to (somewhere as far as) China. Thank you Zindagi Trust!
When Aqsa joined our Paid to Learn school for working children, her passion for education stood out from the get go. She bagged the top position in every accelerated grade session. Her father still struggles to make ends meet, from his Rs 15000 driver's salary but she qualified for our secondary school sponsorship on finishing primary school. She was placed at a mainstream public high school on Walton Road and continues to shine there. She has won the Most Punctual Student award and has a great work ethic, both at school and at the salon she works at.
Listen to Aqsa in her own words here and here, see her at work here.
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