Saira Batool, You Are A Resilient Pakistani

resilient pakistani

Pakistan is a country of around 219 million people with the majority of females and 56% of the female population is still out of school. Being a male-dominated society, this statistic is not surprising. The pursuit of education for the majority of females in Pakistan has never been easy, in fact, I was a victim too. Especially belonging from the Hazara community in the precarious security situations in Quetta and being the eldest kid, my parents and I have fought a lot for my education.

I still remember the days when I had just completed my intermediate and my father and I were searching for admissions in universities and during the same days a lady had come with his son’s proposal and everybody in the family was forcing my parents to accept the proposal, I still remember their words “kya karegi itna parh k, acha rishta hai han kardo”. I couldn’t have secured a scholarship in Sukkur IBA University or gone to the USA for exchange if my dad had accepted the proposal and most probably I would have been a mother of I don’t know how many kids till now. Phew! Thanks to my Mumma and abbu’s support.

Back to the discussion, my gender was not the only hindrance in my pursuit of education, I had a bigger barrier to overcome. Quetta has always been under a continuous threat of terrorism and especially if you are Hazara (people with Turk-Mongol background, light complexion, small eyes, tiny nose, and ethnically Shia believers) you are most likely to be the major target of terrorism. The second one was a bigger challenge for me. Especially after the attack on bus of Hazara students of BUITEMS getting higher education while staying in Quetta was almost impossible. So, I had to convince my parents to let me study out of town. They were first reluctant but after seeing my RESILIENCE, passion for education and career and obviously my previous academic and non-academic achievements, they could not stop me from achieving my dreams. And soon after I secured a fully-funded scholarship through OGDCL National Talent Hunt Program at Sukkur IBA University. But it was not enough for me. This did not change the mindset about female education around me. I wanted to do something bigger that would help create an example for the parents in my community and to show them female education is as important as males’.

Last year I heard about Global UGRAD and SUSI, both are fully funded study exchange programs for Pakistani students in the US. This gave me hope. I applied for both and guess what? I got selected for both but afterward, I chose to go for UGRAD. And studied for five months at Wagner College, New York.

On my way back to Pakistan, my auntie said “can you please help my daughter get admission in any good university and make her like you?” that day, I understood I have brought a change in my family. Today, all the young females in my family go to university. I set an example for all. I proved myself resilient.

Read More:

Sajid Ali, The Resilient Pakistani

Sobia Qureshi, The Resilient Pakistani

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