KARACHI: The survivor of a gut-wrenching incident of gang-rape in 2002, Mukhtaran Mai is a name unknown to none. The brave-heart is set to walk the ramp at Fashion Pakistan Week-2016 for Rozina Munib, and the courageous woman opens up about why she’s taken up the task to propagate the message of education for all through the medium of fashion and media.
“I am walking the ramp to spread awareness about the struggles women go through. This is for the women in my society, it is for those who have no one and no place to go to,” Mukhtaran told The Express Tribune.
Established in 2006, the Mukhtar Mai Women’s Shelter Home is a cocoon for women who are subjected to violence or are in a dire need of shelter.
When asked why she chose this particular platform, Mukhtaran Bibi had a warm response. She graciously said, “All that I do, I do it for my children (at the shelter) and women. This is for them. I can’t do this alone hence I found an anchor in the media to help spread my message.”
“Jinka koi nahi hota unka Allah hota hai, aur main sirf zariya banna chahti hoon.” [Those who don’t have anyone, have Allah. I just want to be able to provide them with what they deserve and more.]
The shelter home is located in Mukhtaran’s hometown, Meerwala.
From protecting, assisting and finding a solution for those seeking refuge from violence, the house provides shelter and daily necessities like food, clothing and daily commodities.
The MMWSH also provides legal assistance to women via hiring lawyers for them. Moreover, long-term support, medical and psychological counselling are provided to women, who face victimisation, to ensure they remain mentally sound.
Moreover, Mukhtaran Mai’s Women Organisation also has a Women’s Resource Centre and a Girls Model School which gives girls access to quality education.
Many might question the motives of a woman who was a gang-rape survivor and raise fingers as she walks the ramp, but it is imperative to understand that women like Mukhtaran Mai give strength to those who are thrashed not just by society but by their families too.
“When I see my girls passing matriculation examinations, attending universities, I feel like everything I have worked for is worth the salt. Meray bachay aur meri behnain mera rang hain,” she said.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 1st , 2016.