Mina’s Turn: It’s Time to make the ‘Right to Education’ a Priority for our Girls
Wars have terrible beginnings and endings. They don’t provide a solution to problems but become the cause of many more. According to the UNHCR the UN Refugee Agency), 25 people were forced to flee their homes every minute in 2018, as global displacement tops 70 million. This is not just a number – these represent human beings.
Like many other Afghan Refugees, Bakht Mina along with her parents, 5 sisters and 3 brothers moved to Pakistan for a better and secure life. Bakht Mina has two elder sisters and like many other girls in her family, they were married off at a very young age. Her father was a laborer and like many others education wasn’t on his list of priorities. The fire of the empty and hungry stomachs of his 9 kids, his wife and his own took precedence over education and all else. But this didn’t stop the dreamy-eyed and fiery spirited, Bakht Mina
Little Mina was an extremely curious and bright child since the very beginning. Her love for learning forced her mother to bring her to the doorsteps of their community school, DIL (Development in Literacy) at Qureshiabad. She was enrolled in Nursery. Soon the teachers and the principal could see the spark in her. Miss Iffat, the principal for DIL -Qureshiabad remembering Bakht Mina says, “She is an extremely intelligent and bright student.” She actively participates in all co-curricular activities.
When Mina completed her primary education her principal and mother tried their best to convince her father to let her study further. But he was strictly against girls’ education. He just wanted her to get married off like her elder sisters. Bakht Mina’s father didn’t have the finances to keep paying her tuition fees and then, later to also pay the expenses of her marriage as well. Therefore, marrying her off sooner seemed to him to be a suitable option rather than investing in her education. However, Bakht Mina and her mother had fought for her dreams and her right to education. They asked the school administration for their help. Impressed by Mina’s determination and her eagerness to get an education, Ms. Iffat waived off her fee so she can get an education free of cost, which was primarily one of the main concerns of her father.
Bakht Mina recently passed her matriculation exam with high grades. In order to let her continue her journey of fulfilling her dreams, Ms. Iffat has asked her school association to provide a scholarship to her. Now, Bakht Mina is enrolled in the first year in a nearby school with the help of Ms. Iffat and her mother. Convinced by her determination and hard work Ms. Iffat has also processed her scholarship case to DIL head office. Bakht Mina’s hard work and persistence didn’t just change her life but also her younger siblings’ lives too. Now her three sisters are also studying at DIL-Qureshiabad. The strong battle fought by Mina and her mother won over her father’s heart. He and her mother, both are now supporting and encouraging their daughters for the pursuit of a quality education to create better lives for themselves.