Failure is a word unknown to Me

Dure Nayab
Posted June 23, 2017 from Pakistan

Belonging to a social setting, the most rural area of Pakistan, throughout my childhood, my family lived in a hand-to-mouth situation. Having mere farmers for grandparents and struggling parents, we were able to scrape enough only to feed us daily and pay a few bills. Given the circumstances, my young mother had to step foot outside the safety and privacy of her house, and struggle just like a man to help in reducing some of the burdens.

Despite being continuously tormented by a narrow minded society for working in a workplace full of men and hardly any women, my mother pressed on because nothing else mattered to her except a better future through better education for my siblings and me! Day and night, rain or sunshine, through their worst days, my parents struggled, pushing themselves beyond their limits, because they had three children to educate and raise.

Hearing about theKL-YES programand how the people who were able to avail this wonderful opportunity began a completely new and exhilarating chapter of their lives, a fire of passion started in me. It hit me like a lightning bolt, and my resolve was as hard as a rock. There was no fear and no hesitation. It came all too naturally, like something meant to be. And I’d made my decision;I was going to be an exchange student.That is because I had a purpose in mind, a drive far too strong to be ignored.

The dream of being an ambassador and to bring a change in the society compelled me to step out of my comfort zone to try to achieve what most would only imagine. Separation from friends and family, saying goodbye to familiar surroundings and starting a completely new chapter of my life didn’t faze me. I had my mind set on a goal and nothing could stop me from accomplishing it.

In spite of all the hardships and suffering, my mother’s dream of me receiving a good education managed to survive. But it disheartened her that there were hardly any schools in our village, and the teachers could barely string two words of English together. Realizing I’d never be able to come to my full potential in these circumstances, she mustered the courage to move to another part of the country all by herself with her three children, leaving my father behind.

For more than a year, she struggled alone and managed everything by herself. Pushing aside all of her own desires and needs, she paid my school fees through loans and borrowed money. Doing everything in her capacity and even more, she brought me to this level today, and I know I have to live up to her expectations. I have to keep achieving more, because even my minute accomplishments are proof that her efforts have not gone in vain.

However, in many ways, my life was much better than that of the thousands of other people in my village, Chitral. I’ve witnessed accounts too difficult to forget and images too vivid to push out of my mind. The sight of houses made of mud being blown apart by the harsh weather; children whose parents couldn’t afford to send to them to school or even properly feed or dress them; frail, aged people who were suffering every day because the expenses of going to a hospital are too much to bear; and people on the streets because the flood had completely demolished their houses was more heartbreaking than anything I’ve ever experienced. I don’t think I can even begin to imagine their hardships and pain.

Yet, regardless of everything, barefoot children in rags with dirt on their faces wore the brightest smiles you would ever see.“We want to go to school,” they’d said with their heads held high.They wanted to be doctors or pilots so they’d walk around clutching books in their tiny hands. That moment, I wondered,is it fair they’d never be given a chance to accomplish their goals? Is it fair their dreams will be crushed just because they had immeasurable talent but no money or opportunities? Why is it that innocent people with hearts of gold should be deprived of basic necessities of like food, water, shelter, etc.?

My heart yearns to do something for these people. I want to be able to uncover their potential and find means for them to channel it. Seventy years down the road since independence, Pakistan has witnessed mostly nothing but failures. Despite having vast potentials for renewable energy, one of the biggest coal reserves, millions of hectares of cultivated land and an enormous labor pool, my county’s survival depends on foreign aid and loans! In the face of such economic upheaval, I as a citizen of such an embattled nation decided to fight for myself to progress and help many others like me, who don’t have my brave mother and opportunities like me due to which they can’t even complete their college level education!

That is whythis scholarship mattered so much to me. It gives me a chance to grow as an individual and shapes my personality. A sense of responsibility and leadership has been instilled in me. By putting the skills and traits I’ve managed to gain as a cultural ambassador, I wish to bring a positive change in my life along with the lives of those people who aren’t as privileged or lucky as me.

It is my vision to work for the development of rural areas of Pakistan like Chitral, where there is so much talent but very limited opportunities. If people in these areas were given the chance to get a good education and come to their full potential, there would definitely be an addition of highly bright minds to the world; people who actually posses the dream and ability to transform the society. I want to create awareness about education and exchange programs in these areas, so that the people can utilize their abilities in a highly positive way and transfigure their lives.

Cultural exchange programs are a wonderful platform for future leaders of the world, and I believe the people of Pakistan have the potential to represent the true essence and beauty of their culture. Hence, when my YES journey comes to a close, I wish to keep working as a cultural ambassador and make people realize the significance of exchange programs in this era of stereotypes.I aim to break the various misunderstandings that exist about different cultures in the world and portray their beauty and uniqueness instead.I feel that it is my goal to convince more teenagers to avail such opportunities, as it is surely a very memorable experience where you are constantly progressing as an individual while learning so many worthwhile things.

In conclusion, I’d say that theYES-programis definitely the best thing that has happened to me in my life. I’ve realized that there is so much more you can accomplish in life, and if you were given this chance, you should definitely be thankful. For every day you are living someone’s dream, you are becoming a source of inspiration for someone out there and making your nation proud. This program made me a leader; an ambassador. What else could I ask for?

This is merely the beginning, for I aspire to achieve much more. I continue to have a thirst for the knowledge needed to give back to my community, to help others, and most importantly to prove that what really matters is not where one comes from, but where one’s heading!

This story was submitted in response to How We Resist.

Comments 8

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Jill Langhus
Jun 23, 2017
Jun 23, 2017

Hi Dure:) Good job, and good luck. Your story is very well written as well as inspirational. I'm looking forward to seeing more posts and stories from you, as well as seeing your progress on your life's mission.

Dure Nayab
Jul 13, 2017
Jul 13, 2017

Hopefully you will see all of that. Thank you so much for being such an encouragement. I highly appreciate it.

Jill Langhus
Jul 14, 2017
Jul 14, 2017

I am confident that I will see it:-) You're very welcome:)

Sabdio Roba
Jul 10, 2017
Jul 10, 2017

Hi Dure, thanks for sharing this great and inspirational story.Your story, community, family background and desire for change is just like mine. I love your yes program..Blessings and all the best.   

Dure Nayab
Jul 13, 2017
Jul 13, 2017

I can't express my gratitude to you for sparing time to give my thoughts a once over and then blessing me with such kind words. You are wonderful, thank you.

JJ
Jul 13, 2017
Jul 13, 2017

What an amazing woman you are Dure, following in the footsteps of your amazing mother! The world is filled with complacent people who are happy to stay in their little societal boxes, but fortunately for women in the future, every once in a while someone like you comes along with fire in her belly and dreams! I commend you and your world views. It will be a pleasure to watch you as you achieve your dreams. You will make a difference in this world. 

Dure Nayab
Jul 13, 2017
Jul 13, 2017

I can't express how big of an impact your wonderful words have on me. It is truly invigorating when people like you appreciate my efforts, as minute as they are. It fills me with a sense of accomplishment, pride and purpose like no other. All I can do is thank you from the depth of my heart for being such an amazing human being. We need more of you in this world.

Lily Habesha
Jul 18, 2017
Jul 18, 2017

What a lovely girl you are!!!!

YOu took me back to my childhood. All the life experience you mentioned here is almost same from where i come from. You mention the village kids but I was a city little girl, but the kids with dirty cloth in a poor nebahud and stuff is almost same.

It doesn't really maters where you come from, but who you are and what you think is matter.

People say, ..."That nation is crook, or dangerous" There is no nation we can accuse or a country we can condemn. There are good and bad people everywhere in the world.

You are one courageous girl

Lily