A professional by day and superwoman by noon, Shehnaz from Peshawar has set out on a journey to educate children who are deprived of this basic right.
“I come from a family that did not have a concept of education,” she said on SAMAA TV’s programme Naya Din on Tuesday.
In the society we live in, it’s easier for boys to get an education as compared to girls, even though it’s everyone’s basic right, she said. Unfortunately, most children in Pakistan are not able to access it.
Shehnaz, however, has pledged otherwise. She has opened a two-classroom school in her locality where she teaches orphaned and poor children free of cost. She also runs a centre where she conducts sessions for girls who are not allowed to study by their families.
“We take sessions with the parents of these girls to mobilise them and make them understand the importance of education,” the social worker said.
She uses 50% of her earning to run her school and the rest of the money comes from donations by her family and friends.
Shahnaz’s biggest inspiration behind the project is her childhood and her struggles to get an education for herself. “I’m the only person from my family who got a Master’s degree, got a job and who took up social activities,” she said.
As a young girl, the social worker had decided to educate all those children who are deprived of it.
She believes that education is important for everyone irrespective of their gender. “It helps shape our future and enables us to fulfill all our material and spiritual responsibilities.”
Students at Shahnaz’s school adore her. “Miss teaches us really well and we love coming to school every day,” one of them said.
The social worker’s motivation, however, is her mother who she credits her success to. “She is my support system and my aim is to make her proud,” she said.
Shahnaz wants to take her project to the next level through social mobilisation in tribal areas where girls are not allowed to study. “I get calls from multiple areas where people want me to work for girls’ education but the lack of resources are a hurdle for me.”
She wants the government to support her. “If I get help from the government, I can work for education on both provincial and national levels,” she said.