DAUDKHEL: A 25-year-old mother of two enrolled in primary school along with her children on Saturday.
Daud Khel resident 25-year-old Asma enrolled in class 1 with her two children. When the woman was asked by the school teacher about the reason for her enrolment she said that she had always wanted to go to school but her parents had forbidden it. “I always fought with them to let me go to school but they never let me. Then I got married and had children and I thought I had lost my chance,” Asma said.
Asma, arrived at the government girls school in Mianwali to register her daughters. “I initially came here to register my daughters a few days ago but when I went home I told my husband how much I regretted never having been to school myself,” she said. “He told me that I should enrol also,” Asma said, adding “I am very lucky, most men would forbid such a thing,” she said.
Asma, arrived for her first class in December 2010 clad in a traditional Mianwali burqa and sat along her children. “I always felt stupid because I never went to school and now I couldn’t even help my children with their school work so I decided to join them,” she said.
Asma said that one of the school teachers MF Abbas encouraged her to enrol in the school. “She often came to pick up her children early and she would sit behind in the class and listen intently,” he said. “I told her that she should enrol herself. No one who loves to learn should be stopped. Everyone who wants to get an education should be able to do so no matter how old they are,” he said.
“It has been a month since she has been here and she motivates my other students also,” Abbas said.
“I am especially proud of Asma’s family because they have set an example of tolerance by encouraging her,” he said.
“When she told me she had enrolled for classes I told her that she should go. She has always regretted not having been to school and now that she can go she should,” Asma’s husband Latif said. “I think people should go to school whenever they can get the chance at whatever age,” he said. Latif said that Asma was now teaching her mother-in-law how to pronounce the English alphabet.
“Due to special attention of the teacher I passed prep 1 and now I am reading class I books. My children are ahead of me in class but that only makes me proud,” Asma said. “Now that I can write and am learning how to read I hope to continue for as long as I can,” Asma said.
Asma told reporters that she hoped all women her age could learn how to read and write. “An entire world is opening up for me.
I can now understand bits and pieces of the newspaper and I can’t wait for the day that I will be able to read them entirely,” she said.
“I hope more and more women can read and write. They will be able to teach their children better and this will improve our society,” Asma said.
School teacher MF Abbas said that Asma was a courageous woman who had taken a step forward for all women. “Asma and her children are my best students and they motivate me as a teacher,” he said. Abbas said that Asma should be saluted for her courage and that the government and NGOs should also make arrangements to educate other people of her age.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2011.