I was thirteen when I started working to raise the status of women through education and skills training in rural Pakistan. It was August 1st 1997 when the first student who was none other than my very own younger joined my academy. When I would teach her, she would make fun of me. Even my parents thought that I was just playing a game; they did not take seriously the fact that their 13 year- old daughter had made a decision that was never going to change. they thought that I would stop it after a few days as children usually do. But I never stopped. Indeed, I went door to door and asked people to send their daughters to my academy. Sometime their behavior was very insulting: Some laughed at me; others humiliated me with their words. Fortunately, thanks to my continued efforts I was teaching 25 students in my class who were from grades 1 to 6 over the next two years in an open space in my yard. In the summer I would pray to God every time for it to rain so that the girls could study. There were no fans; there was no shelter, not even big trees to cover our heads. When it rained I would pray for the rain to stop before our class started. In winter, I would give them all my shawls and warm clothes to keep them warm. Nobody was there to help me, except for my parents. Many times girls stopped coming to our academy, because I was the only teacher and worked like a machine to teach each and every student. Children wanted comfort and more attention. Many children would leave due to poverty. Because this was not acceptable to me, at the age of 15 I started working and since then I have been working and teaching my student in the evening. Unfortunately, I could not provide them with desks, or even classrooms. Although I worked so hard, my income was not sufficient enough to equip my classroom with the necessary facilities and school materials. However, everything changed when I joined a bigger organization where I had access to the internet. First, I learned the basics about the computer and then, in 2012 I began using social media. Within a few months, I started uploading photos of every activity we did at our center. I was able to garner attention from many great women. I received several interview requests, along with so much appreciation from around the world for what I was doing. Moreover, my friends of Facebook offered their support by sending me a shelter for our center all the way from Australia, finding a place to rent, contributing to paying the rent, or even sponsoring my stitching and beauty salon training center Since the inception of my academy now called Zephaniah Free Education, I have many volunteers who have completed their training and are now teaching the students two hours a day. Our focus is on empowering women in our society by exposing them to a variety of skills such as learning how to make clothes and embroideries, particularly dresses with the help of the internet and by discussing solutions to issues relating to women’s rights. Recently one of my friends from India explained to my students about Menstruation and the importance of menstruation hygiene. I have recently started an English language learning center where I, along with my volunteers teach my students English. , Even though I could not go to school or university after grade 7, I got two Master’s Degrees from the Punjab University Pakistan through self-study. As a result, I feel that I still need to learn a lot, particularly about teaching methods. However, thanks to the internet, I am able to find all kinds of solutions to any problem that I have relating to my students or women’s rights. By connecting to internet, I am learning many new things and imparting them to my students. So, this is how we are changing lives of our girls in rural Pakistan. It is my dream to have a computer center because I believe that this is the only way to make changes and to make women feel empowered and free. With the help of the internet, my friends from other countries have already sponsored three computers and now we need only four more. I know we can create a revolution in the lives of women by using the internet. The internet is an amazing tool that can instigate change, especially in a country like Pakistan where most of the women are not allowed to go out of their homes. By using the internet, they can be in contact with the whole world, they can discuss their problems with other women, they can learn new languages, they can raise their voices to demand more rights, and they can develop confidence in themselves as women through talking to so many great women on the internet. That’s why Zephaniah Free Education focuses on the power of the internet.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to WWW: Women Weave the Web .