I came across a lot of statuses about ‘Namal ki beti’ in my facebook news feed lately.This tragic status was about a girl and her story is highlighted by a teacher who took on facebook to help her. She is only 15 years old and wanted to continue her studies but her family is forcing her to get married to an uneducated man as soon as she completes her ninth grade. She tried several suicidal attempts but Allah has got some other plans for her. Mr. Ashraf Iqbal, an angel and a truly fascinating human being besides her teacher listened to her story and decided to help her. This amazingly wonderful teacher is willing to make her life beautiful once again. But sadly this is only one story that we get to hear, there are many similar stories which can be found in our misogynist society. Many people in our country have the same mindset as of the family of Namal ki Beti. Those are people who in social matters continue to live and support this tradition of ancient times without even thinking.A general priority of a girl’s life in Pakistan is not to have education but to get married as soon as possible just for the sake of izzat, ghairat and cultural traditions. The practice of protecting girls from the outside world is seen as a caring act by the men that preserves her honor and that of her family’s. Around 42% of young girls in Pakistan get married before their eighteenth birthday. Not providing education and early marriages of girls are not only damaging their lives but their family’s as well. Unfortunately Pakistan is among those countries that lacks political, economical and educational opportunities. 66% of women can’t read or write while seven million girls don’t go to school. Early marriages contradict a girl’s childhood and no education for women limits earning and economic opportunities, affecting the well being of a woman, her household and her future children. A girl who got married as a child will likely to remain poor and her isolation and lack of decision making make her more defenseless against sexual and domestic abuse. Almost 80% of women in Pakistan are estimated to have encountered abuse in their home however just 4% complaints are made by women.
We are missing out on the capabilities and efficiency of our women, we must trust their abilities and let them grow. Education enhance their skills, provides them with knowledge and help raising their aspirations and those of their parents. Delaying a girl’s marriage can improve her level of education, well-being and opportunities for work, and reduces the possibility of exposure to abuse. Educating a girl has a significant effect on the future financial and welfare prospects for her family. An educated girl can earn when required and has more control over her life. If we want to change the fate of our girls we require a great revolutionary movement. Our society has tremendous inertia and lot of effort is needed to get these ancient traditions to be changed.
We salute and Thank Mr. Ashraf Iqbal for being a mentor to your students and for playing your role brilliantly as a teacher. He is definitely a role model for other teachers. We need more teachers like him who support equal gender education in Pakistan. Let us all support this noble cause initiated by an amazing teacher and help namal ki beti achieve her goals in life.
I truly believe “Education is the key to success in life, and a teacher can make a lasting impact in the lives of their students”
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