When I thought about writing myself, I realize that it’s not that easy to tell the world about you. Explaining the hardships you have gone through and barriers which tried to break you is a tough task actually. But the thing which encouraged me to write is that it may be a hope for someone else. It may encourage a person who is about to quit.
I, Aysh belong to a small town located in Gujranwala Pakistan. I was born in a very poor family where meeting your livelihood expenses was near to an achievement. Having food and shelter was all think about. My father was a fruit seller. Getting education was not at all required. There was no concept of getting education for girls. They were born just to learn household skills, to get married, to take care of the husband, in laws and children. That was all about a girl’s life purpose. Doing anything as she wants for her own wellbeing was out of question.
In such a conservative environment, I made a wish to get education. I fell in love with books at very early age. I was a bright student in school. I had problems of getting copies and stationary for my school but this did not discourage me. I kept saving my little pocket money. I gave all my energy to my studies and always performed well in school without any tuition or guidance from home. When I completed primary education, my father said to me that it’s enough education for you as now you can write and read. He told me that he just can’t afford the expenses of a private school. He further added that you should learn to cook and manage home, so that you would be a successful wife, daughter-in-law and mother. I was just 10 years old when he tried to explain me that only those girls get respect in society who are expert in household skills. Education can’t be a reason of getting respect in this society for a girl because this is a thing which gets no interest from in laws and husband. He said that they will not eat your degrees when they will be hungry. They will be interested in a good food which you will cook and that is the only way to get their love. I cried a lot after listening this. I requested my mother to convince him at any cost. She told my situation to my father. He agreed but then I got admitted in a government school so that my education will not be a financial burden for my father. I had no problem with this decision rather I was happy because my purpose was only to get education. School type was not an issue for me. I felt that life has been back to me.
But problems know well to perform their role. After one year, my father had a loss and he has no job. In those days, we had days without food even, we could not pay our electricity bill and electricity meter was cut down. We had very tough time. But this problem could not discourage me; I kept focus on my study. I kept going to school without iron my uniform for whole one year and it was really a psychological pain. My mother washed our clothes on hand pump. During my exams, I did preparation in the light of moon at night. We had no torch light at home. And when my result was declared, I got first position in my class. This was a very big achievement for me. I realized that hard work will always pay you. We spent one whole year without electricity. Then my father managed to get it back. But next year, a very big loss was waiting for my family. My father died because of liver cancer. I was just 13 years old then. Many people advised my mother to end my studies because there was no way of income. But my mother said that her education is not a burden because there is no fee in government school. I completed my metric with A grade. I further got admission in a government college for intermediate. My mother kept supporting me because I never disappointed her. But society and relatives tried to make her understand that she should find a spouse for me because metric was a great degree for them. But I had a wish to be a good example for others, so after me girls will not face that much opposition regarding education as I faced. Whatever the circumstances were there, I completed my intermediate with computer science because I love I.T Education. I got good grades in intermediate too. But there was no government college for graduation in my town and my mother had no way to afford a private college expenses. I asked help from God and God sent an angel in my life. One of my cousins took responsibility of my graduation; he is well educated. But every other person in my surroundings criticized him except my mother. They advised him that he should take responsibility of my marriage rather my study. But he said that educating a girl is like educating a generation and she is so young to get married now, she is fond of study and I don’t want that there come a time in her life when she will think that the shortage of money was a barrier for her study. After being independent, she can support her family too. They will not have to see other people for help throughout their life.
I thanked God and started BBA (Hon’s) at University of the Punjab. My other cousins got jealous because they all are uneducated and they don’t want me to be better than them. I kept silence in answer of their taunts but then they started calling me proud. They even tried to put finger on my character and abused co education. They said I’m having an affair. They started following me when I go university on daily basis. They wanted me to catch with some boy to stop my education but God knows that I was clear so He protected me from their evil. My all focus was just towards my education and I did not care their words. By the grace of God, I completed my graduation and they could not find a single thing which they can use against me.
I started job as accountant in a private school in my town to support my family and my sister’s education. Both of my brothers also started working and the conditions started to become easy. But then life came to us with most shocking incident. My younger brother was suffering from brain tumor and after having 2 months of continuous pain and struggle for life, he died.
It’s being impossible for me to write my feelings right now when I think all that suffering we had. His separation broke us. I was completely lost. The plans made by me and my brother looked to an end.
But then I realized that my responsibility has been increased towards my family. I started Masters in Political Science from University of the Punjab with my job. I did it private and without any tuition or academy. I worked as tutor for the children of same school in the evening to meet all expenses of my family. In those days, I got job in telecom sector of Pakistan, There I met Sister Zeph. She gave a new hope to me as she told stories of different women/girls at her centre who are living more difficult lives than me. She helped me to recover from psychological pressure towards my family. She always says, you are young and educated, you can do anything. She is a true inspiration for me. She encourages me to live life with full zest. She told me about World Pulse that how they are empowering hundreds of girls through I.T and social media.
I think about her life and her struggle for the betterment of human being, I get motivated. My wish to help others, get stronger. I want to make this world a better place for others with a rule “education for all”.
Because of her, I met Malee Kenworthy and many other great women who are doing a lot for themselves and for the world to make it a better place. And then I started writing for World Pulse and made new friends who help me to stay strong through their encouraging views. One of my stories has also been published on World Pulse and I am in love with the power of I.T. It has changed my life and my views on many things. I feel more strong and empowered because I know that there are people who encourage and understand me and they are not like people who assassinate my character because I am different from them.
I have completed masters in political science while doing job but thirst for education still there as I want to do M.Phil whenever I get a chance and I will have enough financial resources. Now I am doing job as HR manager of a famous car dealing company of Pakistan but I have to spend my salary for my family expenses and my sister’s education. Difficulties I faced did not discourage me rather they worked as motivation. I knew how to get possible from impossible. Poverty, psychological pressure of society and deaths of my near ones made me stronger. I can face anyone and I don’t give right them to criticize my character in any way rather some of them now come to me sometimes to take suggestions regarding studies of their children. They tell my story to their daughters and advised them to be strong enough like me. I feel so satisfied then. Though I’m not that rich but money can’t buy that happiness I feel when I see that same people who called my mother fool for allowing me to get education, now calls her lucky because she has a daughter like me. Though they did not help me when I needed but when they ask for my suggestions for the studies of their kids, I advise them to get degree in I.T as this is the future of the world. I have forgiven all of them who hurt me then and I believe that your success is the right answer to all people who want to let you down and education is the source of getting that success.
I am doing all the things which a boy can do. I live on my own, I support my family and I lead people. I feel empowered and strong because I have authority of my life. So there is no need to remind me that I should do this or should not do that. No one has right to specify the limit on anyone’s choices. I want to convey the message to who underestimated me just because of being a girl, “you have no idea how strong God has made me and every woman, so don’t challenge anyone’s capacity and don’t judge any one because the one is different.”
Last words of this story are for the young girls who are facing such barriers while struggling for their lives.
Girls!! Keep your chin up, go get education, be aware of I.T Education, and use your laptop or computer to empower you. There is an awesome world in it and never ever compromise on your passion. Just do what you love and the rest will fall in place.
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I believe I am an inspiration and I own it, I own all my problems, all my pleasures and everything which belongs to me. This is my definition of being empowered.