Education leads to Rabia’s economic empowerment


“The sole purpose of women is to do household chores and raise children. Their education is rather poin
tless.” I grew up listening to these words. I grew up watching my mother harvesting crops and grazing the cattle. rabia-tabsumWhenever my parents would have an argument, my maternal grandfather was the only one with enough power to put an end to the fight.  Although, my father was strictly against girls going out of the village for education; due to my grandfather’s influence I was able to get admission in school. Despite many hardships,
I was able to pass matric, being the first girl in the family to do so.

One evening, I found out about Bedari launching an education project in our village. After convincing my father, I was able to get admission in first year (11th grade) in a college in Kalar Kahar. I managed to complete two more years of education, and Bedari agreed to continue supporting me as long as I wanted. So I got admission in the 3rd year (13th grade).

Once while looking through the daily newspaper in our college, I came across a job opportunity in a government organization ‘Sweet Home’
providing shelter and care to orphans. They were in need
of a local level coordinator and I fit their criteria perfectly.

I was aware that mentioning this to my family would be a bad idea; I would never get permission for a job and I may even be stopped from going to college. Hence, I did not consult anyone from my family and instead referred to Bedari’s program officer. She motivated me immensely and told me how to tackle the issue of dealing with my parents.  I applied for the job and on the day of my interview, following the program officer’s guidelines, I told my parents to pray that I get this job. My father was enraged and stated that a daughter’s earning was “haram” (something banned by religion like alcohol is haram) for him. Upon hearing this, I made him realize how I worked in the fields and grazed the cattle and how that was also my earning. I made him realize that if that wasn’t “haram” for him then earning from the work of my liking wouldn’t be “haram” for him either. Noticing that my father was quiet now, I told him how this was just an interview and that the job wasn’t confirmed yet; but working was my passion and if I had his blessings, I would definitely get the job. He finally gave his nod, and prayed for my success.

After the interview, I started waiting for the offer letter from the organization. It took some time but finally it arrived. One day when I returned from my college, my father congratulated me and handed me the letter. I cried … I had tears of joy in my eyes. I had not only earned a job in sweet homes but also my father’s trust. I have got a very good paying job, but that does not mean I am discontinuing my education. The only difference is that now I do not need financial support from Bedari. I have informed them, so that they can replace me by putting another girl in school.

My job, the love from my parents and the trust received from Bedari beautified my personality. I am happy that I had attended the Self Growth Sessions arranged by Bedari. They gave me lots of confidence, and negotiating skills, which helped me negotiate with my father for my education first, and for my job later.

Thank you, Badari!