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Caterpillar to Butterfly


Life of a woman is not easy in Pakistan.As they say “Life is not a bed of rose”.I was born in a very backward area of Pakistan its name is Jacobabad it was an area with rare facilities and technology.Now I’m 21 years old and studying in Bachelors and my major is mass communication.I remember when I first talked with my family to study arts their reaction was not different from others.My brother always wanted me to become a doctor and I was never interested studying medicine.In Pakistan there is a stereotype about people who study arts/communicatin/social sciences are the people who are either dumb or losers .They see from a lens which describe them that only a doctor or an engineer is educated the rest are useless.Specially in the case of women,the women who are doctor or teacher to be respected and that are the only fields for women which are seen as sophisticated and respected profession. My family was not the less they were not comfortable me studying Journalism and thus my brother told me when I was in last year of my secondary education that either I become a doctor or a wife.I had only two options that either I do what my family wants or get married to the guy of my family’s choice.I was depressed and helpless But I took a stand and ensured my brother that one day I will be called as doctor not the medicine one but the PHD one.I was lucky in a sense that my family was not that rigid and they understood that I’m not a person of sciences but social sciences.
That was my story but if I talk about the girls in my community or my village then the scenario is in worst condition.Mostly above middle class families allow their daughters to study and even most of them are not convinced to send their daughters to the university level but get them married before that.If I represent the other social status like below middle class or the labor class they have no concept of girls getting education or going to school.They take their children as money machines,most of their children in villages are been sold to the landlords which further make them their slaves and treat them like animals.The ratio of girls are higher in slavery and child labor in villages.Girls are consider as load on their parents and parents wants to just get rid of them as soon as possible by finding the match for them.
I observed that the biggest challenge girls face in our society is early marriages and this is because of poverty and lack of awareness.One of my neighbor’s maid name “Kullsum Bibi” died while giving birth to her first child latter on I came to know that she was only sixteen years old.There are a lot of Kullsums in our society and I believe we should be stopping this situation immediately.On one hand the poverty has increased the rate of early marriages and illiteracy,terrorism is nevertheless .While working on rescuing the IDP, I came to know so many families who were badly affected by terrorism.Mostly Terrorists attacks on girls schools and colleges so a dream of educated nation cannot be fulfilled.I believe that even if one of the mother of Terrorists was educated they would have been heroes of nation instead of becoming villains of world.The greatest daughter of Pakistan “Malala Yousafzai” said “I don’t mind if I have to sit on the floor at school.All I want is education.And I’m afraid of no one”.We need that spirit in our women,we need that courage in our women and we need that love for education in our women.Thus we shall be able to defeat every obstacle that comes in our way.A gun can fire,kills or win once but a pen can write,rewrite and being read again and again by thousands of people thus the gun kills once whereas education protect thousands of thousands from becoming a killer.
We cannot always beat the drum of Poverty or terrorism we need to become our own protector & our own king.For that I have applied with my other friends in “Teach for Pakistan” which hire teachers to teach in rural areas specially for girls.Girls who gets educated doesn’t become a rebel but a true human who believes in freedom and humanity.We have to start it from grassroot level the Budget for education needs to improve. The campaigns like Alif Ailaan & teach for Pakistan helping many Malala’s to defeat terrorism and poverty by holding a pen and book.Plus The Political parties who are appearing in elections 2013 are making education prior in their manifesto.This time we can change and create a new Pakistan by voting for education thus we can make the caterpillar into a beautiful free Butterfly.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Girls Transform the World Digital Action Campaign.

World Pulse believes that women's stories, recommendations, and collective rising leadership can—and will—bring girls greater access to education which will transform their lives, their families, and communities. The Girls Transform Campaign elicits insightful content from young women on the ground, strengthens their confidence as women, and ensures that influencers and powerful institutions hear their stories.
Learn more »



Aysha Ibrahim's picture

lets vote for education

you have raised very valid points and true depiction of our country education system. In 800 words you have confined almost all major education related issues. Good work

Aysha from Pakistan

Yosra Akasha's picture

Touching & Inspiring

"A gun kills once, a pen protects thousands of thousands from being killers"

Well said, a wonderful career of journalism is waiting for you, you are really talented.


Yosra Akasha, Sudan

Mahrukh Pasha's picture

Thank you for the comments

Aysha and Yosra I believe that we can empower ourself only if we want and that can only happen if we make education our priority

Women should must be educated because they construct a whole family for generations and all this load is on her shoulders.We can construct a better society by constructing a better education structure.

Best wishes for both of you

Myrthe's picture

Thank you!

Thank you for sharing your personal story! I think you give a good overview of the problems in educating girls in your country. I love what you said in your comment about the importance of educating girls because women raise the children in the family.
I wish you good luck in your career as a journalist and in your application to "Teach for Pakistan". I am sure you will achieve many great things in your life!

Chinemu's picture

Great work,

Wow, what can I say, this a great piece that kept me glued, yes we can change the caterpillar into a beautiful free Butterfly.

Keep your fire burning.

Aurore's picture

Found your post very poetic!

Found your post very poetic! thanks for sharing your personal story.

Your sentence "In Pakistan there is a stereotype about people who study arts/communicatin/social sciences are the people who are either dumb or losers ." resonates in me because it is the same in Europe, people who study "hard" sciences are always believed to be better than social scientists.

Being a good student in high school, you are pushed by many teachers (including social sciences ones!!) to choose a hard science university. But I agree with you that social science can be so fulfilling and can bring so much to the world. I hope this paradigm will change worldwide someday


akaneko's picture

Thank you so

Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. You are a great role model for women all over the world because of your strength and dedication to persevering towards higher education and giving back to your community. Your writing is powerful and poetic. Keep up the great work!


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