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To Educate Girls is to Educate a Nation

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Morey (Mama), why am I not going to school like Lala (elder brother)?” said the daughter of a maid to her mother. Her mother scolded her to wash dishes silently. This is the story of the 10-year old Gulalie, who works with her mother as a maid at different houses of the nearby housing society.

Gulalie, like every other child, had a dream in her shining eyes to become a doctor and to treat the poor patients of her community free of cost. She knows very well that these poor people couldn’t afford any charges. But today, she is ten – and she doesn’t even know how to spell the word ‘doctor’. The financial barrier stuck between Gulalie and her bright dreams and has made her life miserable. She is struggling, facing  countless efforts every day without any specific direction to her life.

Being a helper who accompanies her mother, she is supposed to do all the chores including preparing school bags, lunch boxes and water bottles for the kids of that very house. Each morning tears roll down her cheeks, and her only wish is to go to school like those other kids and her Lala (elder brother). She wants to study, to fulfil her dreams, to help the needy and to build a clinic in her community.

Every now and then, she is found at the corner of her house, trying hard to read the books of her elder brother. She is lost in the pages and looks at them wondering if only she would understand what all that means; she wishes so much to be able to read them.

Then one day, suddenly, from nowhere her mother comes yelling at her not to waste time with these meaningless and worthless pieces of papers. Needless to say, her mother shares the view that girls are meant to work and boys should study to earn a handsome income later.

…girls are like a fruitless tree, no matter how much it is groomed and worked upon, the outcome would be nothing  

To her illiterate mother, books are nothing but an embodiment of filthy things. When Gulalie tries to explain the value of books, she gets labelled as idiot, stupid, disobedient and God knows what else. Her tears are visible once again.

This story is about Gulalie. But Gulalie is not alone; so this story is of every Gulalie who is stopped from going to school.

In Pakistan, the literacy rate of girls is comparatively low. It is clearly stated that girls are like a fruitless tree, no matter how much it is groomed and worked upon, the outcome would be nothing.

Napoleon was right: “Give me educated mothers, I shall promise you the birth of a civilized, educated nation.”

But we know it isn’t true. Education is as important as eating and breathing. Education is considered as the backbone of a nation, and the nation’s pillar is wholly dependent upon women. Thus, education for woman is of utmost importance.

As the saying goes ‘the mother lap is the child’s first university’. So, if the mother would be educated, she would drive with her the whole family. And from the level of the family the the importance of education would grow further. Napoleon was right: “Give me educated mothers, I shall promise you the birth of a civilized, educated nation.”

Our foremost priority should be to educate girls so that there would be no more Gulalies out there, who are deprived of education. Access to education is the basic right of every girl. And to educate girls is to educate a nation.


[Related: The Unsung Heroes of Pakistan: 8 Pakistani women you and the world should know about]


Written by guest author: 

Hamna Hashmi is from Pakistan. As a 19-year old girl she is working towards her Bachelors in Psychology as a major and English Literature. She is passionate about oratory, pencil sketching, and English poetry. When she is not at school she enjoys daydreaming and putting her imaginations into words. She firmly believes that women all around should come forward and play a positive role in educating the poor girls so that we all can pursue our dreams.

One thought on “To Educate Girls is to Educate a Nation

  1. It is precise, articulated with extra ordinary diction and decorated with local phraseology. At the age of 19, it is a hill mark in her life.

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