Dear Girls Education Supporters,
We are excited to share a follow up about one of our scholarship recipients, Awatif Aslam. Below is the story, as told by one of our our in-country partners, Safeer Ullah Khan. It's the whole story from the beginning to the exciting new development in Awatif's life! Her life has been changed thanks to having earned an education, something made possible thanks to supporters like you. We hope you feel your impact!
Awatif wanted to study further but her parents had other plans for her. As they could not afford to keep her in school, they had selected a groom for her and wanted to marry her off as soon as possible so that they could have one less mouth to feed. Awatif was in deep trouble and just did not know if there was any way out of this difficult situation.
That was the time when Bedari, with support from Girls Education International, announced a scholarship program for girls who had completed thier primary education in Laphi – Awatif’s village. She applied for the program and got selected. The next step was to convince her parents to delay her marriage and let her continue with her education. It was a difficult part but the local volunteer at Bedari pulled the right strings, i.e. discussed the matter with elderly people of the community who, then, talked to Awatif’s parents, and got their consent. In a matter of a few weeks, all the formalities were completed, and she was back in school.
She made the most of the opportunity, cleared her secondary school exam and requested Bedari for support for another two years to do her higher secondary certificate - necessary for graduation. Bedari, seeing her passion, decided to continue the support, which resulted in successful completion of her higher secondary level education as well.
Support from Bedari came to an end at that point. But Awatif’s passion for further education had swelled even further. She was again in a difficult situation. Seeing her passion, her family got together and discussed different options. The largest chunk of expenditure on her education was actually on her daily travel from her village to her college in the nearby town. If that expense could be avoided, the family could afford to continue her education (Bedari was paying for her transportation before).
At that point, her grandmother stepped in. She lived in the same town near Awatif’s prospective College. The Grandmother offered her home to Awatif, so she did not have to take a van daily but could walk to and from college. Awatif happily accepted her offer. She started living with her grandmother. Her uncle provided her with books. She walked to her college daily and visited her parents on weekends. In another two years, she graduated!
And now for the exciting new development ...
She is now 20 years old and ready to take up the responsibilities of married life. However, life presented her with another opportunity. An NGO wanted to establish an adult literacy center in the neighboring village, and was looking for a teacher. As it failed to find a well-educated female teacher in that village, it started looking for one in the neighboring village, and came to know about Awatif. She was immediately hired and sent for basic training in adult literacy. She has completed her training and is now teaching at the Adult Literacy Center. It is difficult for her to hide her joy. Now she is completely ready to take up the responsibilities of married life.
We are just thrilled for Awatif. She was able to enjoy her youth, study, and acquire a paying job as an educator! Not only has her life been changed, but the generosity of her grandmother to help her continue her studies shows that education is something to be cherished. When communities see the potential of education to bring prosperity and happiness into the lives of young women, they will continue to fight for each girl's right to have equal access to quality education. And we all know that will change the world!
Congratulations, Awatif! And thank you Girls Ed supporters!!
Please share this story and the work we are all doing together by bringing this up in conversation or using the sharing buttons below. Encourage friends and family to make a contribution so that we can continue to grow our programs and support many more young women like Awatif. The gratitude is ever flowing!
The Girls Ed Team