For me, life has been a constant journey of challenges and survival. Living in an egocentric society dominated primarily by males, we have been taught since our childhood that our opinions and dreams hold no value. Marriage, child bearing and domestic responsibilities are the sole function of a woman, while self worth and self identity are of no importance.
Growing up in a lower middle class family, we were enrolled in mediocre schools, where the only purpose of learning was not to gain education, but only obtain a namesake degree. But I failed to comprehend this notion, and therefore embarked on a lone struggle to achieve more than just a degree. My after school hours were spent reading books and visiting the library regularly. While browsing through a newspaper, I came across an opportunity to apply for a U.S scholarship. However, my aspirations were short lived, when my parents accepted the first proposal that came my way. I was barely 15, looking towards a brighter and optimistic future abroad. Not willing to part with my goals, I gathered the courage to refuse to matrimonial commitment. This raised a hue and cry not only within my family but also among my extended family and relatives. People made up all sort of stories degrading and humiliating my honor. It was a difficult period not only for me but also for my parents who were constantly under societial pressure. Finally, I left my home just to save my parents from further embarrassment and interrogation.
I stayed at a friend’s place, who not only helped me in terms of finances but also provided me with immense support and care. With her unconditional love, I cleared every step of the scholarship program including my GRE. Finally after months of interviews and tests, I rose triumphant gaining access to an Undergrad program in the most prestigious university in USA.
After 4 years of education, knowledge and insight, I returned back to my homeland. With the urge and willingness to help other women around me, I opened up a consultancy desk in a small village. Here I began assisting women to pursue their careers and follow their dreams. Gradually, I discovered this gave me real pleasure and inner satisfaction, rather than working at a multinational company earning a hundred thousand a month. Today I live a nomadic life, traveling village to village with the sole aim to educate and empower the women of Pakistan. This journey of dependence to independence has made me a strong woman. Life has been a rollercoaster for me, but I endeavor and pledge to make it easy for my fellow Pakistani womenfolk.
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