Khalida Niaz

PESHAWAR: 19-year-old Fatima from Mardan says she wants to become a doctor but she couldn’t go to school for four years as her father and uncle were not willing to send her to school.

She said she had to secretly take admission into a school. She said she has now taken admission in science group in ninth grade with permission of her mother. She said her aim is to become a doctor and show her family that girls can also excel in education and make future for themselves.

Fatima said she has four sisters and her elder brother has died. She said her eldest sister has got education upto matriculation at a time when her father was abroad. She said her family has very conservative thinking and they don’t support girls’ education.

“Initially I made several efforts to convince my father and uncle to allow me to go to school, but they didn’t allow me as they thought that it was not good for a girl to go out of home. They also thought that girls cannot achieve anything from education,” Fatima told TNN.

She said she was determined to prove her elders wrong. She said she believes that excessive restrictions always prove counterproductive and incite children on rebellion. She said children tend to excel when their parents support and encourage them in their endeavours.

Fatima said she managed to convince her mother to do a beautician course and then she took admission in a school secretly. She said the school administration is well aware of the thinking of her family, therefore, it is fully cooperating with her. She said she cannot attend her school regularly, because it may put her secret in danger. She said the school has given her admission after seeing her dedication towards her studies.

Two sisters of Fatima have entered marriage and her younger sister is also deprived of education as the family members want to marry them off as soon as possible. Fatima said those who don’t allow their girls to get education are in fact destroying their lives. She said life is becoming easier for her after she started realising her dream of going to school and it was not possible without the support of her mother.

“I earn enough money from beautician course to support my studies and I don’t need financial help from anyone,” she told TNN.

Fatima said her class-fellows are much ahead of her, but she has not lost heart and she is confident that she will achieve her objectives one day.

Note: The real name and address of the girl have been changed in the article upon her request.