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The Internet is an Amazing Tool That can Instigate the Change

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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.

This story was written for World Pulse’s Women Weave the Web Digital Action Campaign. Learn more »

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Comments

Lea's picture

Fabulous essay, my dear!!!!!

Fabulous essay, my dear!!!!! You are truly an inspiration! I'm so proud of you! You are really and truly making a difference in the lives of so many girls. I can't tell you how honored and blessed I am to know you!

zephaniah's picture

Oh my dear Lea

you are my power you are my strength I can do nothing without your support my sister . you are my angel

Nabiye Tal's picture

You are an Amazing Lady!!!

Dear Zephaniah,

I always look forward to reading your posts, you are such an amazing woman! I am encouraged and inspired following your success and determination on the free education, i continue to wish you great success in all your plans and projects. Keep it up and Together we shall continue to create a safe world for women and children. Cheers.

Nabiye Tal,
Founder/CEO- IEVAWC.
@nabiye, @ievawc

zephaniah's picture

My dear Nabiye

Oh my Dear thanks a lot you read almost every blog of mine this is so nice of you

Tam's picture

It Is Women Like You

Dear Zephaniah,

It is women like you who are changing the world. Your piece reads so very beautifully, giving us the opportunity to understand how deep your personal convictions run, to see girls empowered by education. You have accomplished so much, undeterred by insults and lack of support emotionally and financially. It was good to read that you did enjoy some support and encouragement along the way. My heart was full of joy as I read about your spreading of the news of what you had accomplished through the internet, and that response has brought you the much needed materials. You are so right, you are changing the lives of girls in Pakistan, and the dreams you lay out are such a good reminder for us all of how even one more commuter can keep the changes growing stronger. We are all stronger, just knowing that you are there.

With Love in Sisterhood,

Tam

Tam, I always enjoy reading your replys, as they are full of beauty and honesty. You eloquently encourage and highlight the best of your sisters, providing an example for others here to follow. Thank you for that.

In sisterhood-

Let us Hope together-
Michelle
aka: Cali gal

Listener
Sister-Mentor
@CaliGalMichelle
facebook.com/caligalmichelle

zephaniah's picture

My Dear Tam

Hey my dear Tam thank you so much you are very kind to read my story and to give your time for this,I am just doing my part , because education is the only solution to our all problems

Zephaniah-
I am always happy when I come across a post of yours. You have an honesty and attitude from which we all can learn. I know you have worked sacrificially to impart skills and knowledge to other girls, and I KNOW that what you do and have done will have an eternal impact on their lives.

You have not only described the transformative power of connection through the internet, but are a living example of it. It is amazing how social media can have an almost immediate impact, and can be used for such good. I have no doubt that your computer center dream will come to fruition! Keep the faith, keep reaching out, and others will have no choice but be drawn into it because of your passion and dedication.

Looking forward to great things to come-

Let us Hope together-
Michelle
aka: Cali gal

Listener
Sister-Mentor
@CaliGalMichelle
facebook.com/caligalmichelle

SaritaMat's picture

Amazing story..a real life

I just went on reading your post and it caught my so much attention.I am so inspired to to after reading it.So much enthusiasm,efforts you have to put to educate the girls.You made it possible.You are one of a kind who is trying to make women strong in every possible way.

Great going..Keep it up Zhepaniah.
Regards,
SaritaMat

sabapetit's picture

Thank you a lot!

Dear Zhepaniah,
Your story is wonderful!!! It makes me think about the natural compassion that each women has within herself. Thank you for sharing your story, again! It makes me feel proud of being women! I also believe that education is the most powerful tool to overcome poverty and any trouble in life! Education is an universal human right but it is not respected in so many places. However, our voices are being heard, each day there are more woman working for the welfare of our children and little by little we are going to change this world for the better.

Thank you for have has not given up!

Peace,
Sabapetit

Sabapetit

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