Journey of a backbencher at a government school to a seat in UN

Published: March 21, 2016
Aamna Qureshi

Aamna Qureshi

SUKKUR: Walking to school with her brothers and sisters, little Aamna Qureshi used to look wistfully at the buses of the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Sukkur. Little did she know then that one day she would study at the prestigious school and, that, too, on a 100 per cent scholarship.

Aamna belongs to a middle-class family and has 10 siblings. Her father runs an optician’s shop. She has overcome numerous challenges in her life, the biggest being a lack of confidence of society in a woman’s capabilities.

Pakistan’s Fiza Farhan appointed member of UN’s first-ever panel on women empowerment

What can a girl not do?

During her early education at Government M K High School, Sukkur, Aamna developed a strong belief that no one should have to fight for education, especially girls. Having been told by society that she cannot do much, she has come to disregard the notion of the ‘impossible’.

After matriculation from the public school, where education was imparted free of charge, Aamna got enrolled in Government Girls Degree College, Sukkur, in the pre-engineering discipline. “As a backbencher and someone who stammers, it was not easy for me to carry on with the type of education being imparted in our government schools,” she said. “Despite that, I did pretty good and always secured top positions in my class. Then I went to college, where all the major subjects were taught in English. Thus, I faced a huge language barrier.”

Taking the first step

Thinking about her dream of studying at Sukkur IBA, she used to wonder if she would be able to generate the funds needed for the institution’s expenses. “Whenever I dwelled into this thought, these words echoed in my mind: if we really want something, nature conspires to fulfil our desire. We do not need to see the whole staircase; we just need to take the first step.” According to her, she thought long and hard about the dismal state of teaching in government schools. This made her decide that she would pursue higher studies in the field of education.

Four Pakistanis recognised in Forbes ’30 Under 30′ list

Today, 19-year-old Aamna is pursuing a Bachelor’s in Education (BEd) degree from Sukkur IBA. She attempted the admission test of BEd at the university and cleared it with flying colours. She strongly believes that education is the foundation stone of the intellectual, social and moral development of a human being. According to her, Sukkur IBA is like a blessing for her family because four of her sisters studied here on scholarships. “It has changed my social status by providing education and a platform for interacting with like-minded people,” she tells The Express Tribune.

Growth and achievements

When Aamna got enrolled in Sukkur IBA, she experienced a dramatic change in her life. As she undertook schooling in her local language, she struggled hard to get accustomed to Sukkur IBA’s standards, where all the courses were taught in the English language. She burnt her midnight oil to prove her mettle with successful results. Being a meritorious student and highest GPA holder of her batch at Sukkur IBA, she won two scholarships and also won a national-level photo contest. Dr Irfan Ahmed Rind, the head of the education department at Sukkur IBA, believes in giving opportunities to students to give them a chance to contribute in fulfilling the vision of the department. Likewise, with the guidance of Dr Rind, Aamna remains active in Sukkur IBA Student Council. “She always seeks and makes opportunities, which distinguished her from all the students,” says Rind.

Muniba Mazari appointed UN’s first woman Goodwill Ambassador to Pakistan

Aamna was nominated to attend the Commission on the Status of Women 60 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City on March 12 this year. She was the only and the youngest participant from Pakistan at the event. This was her first independent international travel. Her sincere commitment and dedication to play her part in alleviating the education situation has been persistent. Her determination, passion and commitment seem to promise social change in the near future. “I feel proud of myself, my parents and, of course, my teachers, especially Dr Irfan Rind, who proved to be a source of inspiration for me,” she says.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 21st,  2016.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (18)

  • Humayun
    Mar 21, 2016 - 10:47AM

    Dear Amna, You did a tremendous work, Keep it up . May Allah bless you always.Recommend

  • Muhammad Sario
    Mar 21, 2016 - 11:12AM

    I am proud of you Dear Aamna that you succeeded on achieving your goal of promoting education and problems related to it at one of the great platform of the globe i.e. UN Headquarter. You are very wise student of Sukkur IBA. I wish you a bright future ahead and expect that you will do more projects for the betterment of education in Sukkur region. God bless you.Recommend

  • scion
    Mar 21, 2016 - 11:18AM

    inspiring :)Recommend

  • nadeem
    Mar 21, 2016 - 12:02PM

    Well done. This is source of inspiration to all the students, specially to girls.Recommend

  • Raffi
    Mar 21, 2016 - 12:02PM

    Amna! You are the best and a wonderful person! May your dreams come true and you have a wonderful time ahead.Recommend

  • HKhan
    Mar 21, 2016 - 12:45PM

    Congratulations, but his father was a optician and the profit in the spectacle is like diamonds.Recommend

  • Batty
    Mar 21, 2016 - 12:53PM

    Such an inspiring girl!!!! So proud of you Aamna :)Recommend

  • Faisal
    Mar 21, 2016 - 1:23PM

    Great story, inspiring for the young ones, majority of theose are fast becoming couch potatoes.Recommend

  • Kamran Akber Soomro
    Mar 21, 2016 - 4:21PM

    Glad to see young students of our land rising to the global level! No doubt, Aamna is creating a motivational trend for all other youth! Long way to go Aamna! Keep it up…Recommend

  • Mar 21, 2016 - 4:35PM

    You are a beacon to those who comes after you. Well done and congratulations. Recommend

  • shoaib
    Mar 21, 2016 - 5:13PM

    Great inspiring story, you are an example for those who have dreams!!!Recommend

  • Uzair Rafee
    Mar 21, 2016 - 6:16PM

    Even a diamond seller can not make it there without determination. Keep up!Recommend

  • NHA
    Mar 22, 2016 - 1:40AM

    She sets an example for girls of underserved sections of society for whom the shortest route to prosperity and exit from poverty is education. Recommend

  • Naji
    Mar 22, 2016 - 6:15AM

    Hard work Pays off…Excellent.Recommend

  • Muhammad Akmal Khan
    Mar 22, 2016 - 8:07AM

    A proud daughter of great PAKISTAN. Plz be assure every one that it is only hard work which can take you to any zenith. Recommend

  • Mar 22, 2016 - 12:31PM

    Dear Amna, you have preformed well and messaged girls it is wake up call for them being prepared to lead such platforms and prove the world when girls land on ground , they will leave no stone unturned to win that ground. Allah bless you forever. Recommend

  • kashan
    Mar 22, 2016 - 4:05PM

    Inspiring and very weldoneRecommend

  • Sarosh Madara
    Mar 22, 2016 - 6:19PM

    There is symbol of hard workers that is “they never stop”. :)Recommend

More in Sindh