KARACHI: A 14-year-old girl has secured the top position among all the students in District Municipal Corporation (DMC) South’s 102 schools in class six annual examinations. What makes her feat more remarkable is the fact that the young shining star belongs to the restive Lyari neighbourhood.
Lyari has witnessed gang-based wars, including clashes between drug mafias, and remained a no-go area for years. It was infamous for its rapidly booming crime rate in the entire city. This, however, did not deter Rimsha Muhammad Iqbal, 14, who lives in a two-room apartment in Juma Baloch Goth, Kalri, and is now studying in class seven, from further wanting to achieve the same feat in her future classes. She says she want to bring a good name to her mother, who earns for the family by setting up a small pushcart cabin on the roadside near her house, and her father, who drives a school van.
The teenager believes that the economic and social conditions of anyone must not deter them from growing big and achieving something extraordinary. "I want to be a medical doctor and cure the diseases of the ailing people in Lyari," she says.
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Rimsha has been studying at DMC Girls' Secondary School 7. Talking to The Express Tribune in the corridor of her school, she says that in order to achieve big, you have to concentrate on it. “Work diligently until you achieve what you have been trying to accomplish," she said while referring to the law and order situation in Lyari.
According to Rimsha, it was her parents' support and her own will to bring about a change in their lives that motivated her to work towards achieving the top position in the entire DMC’s schools, of which, 52 are in Lyari.
Nevertheless, the ambitious teenager is dissatisfied with the facilities in the campus, such as lack of potable water and daily power cuts during school hours. "If the government improves the facilities, the students of Lyari and other such areas can prove their mettle in any field of interest."
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According to the headmistress of the school, Shakeela Hashim, students like Rimsha are true role models for students who go to schools located in impoverished areas and, despite the lack of facilities, don't give up on their dreams.
She further told The Express Tribune that at an event held at Arts Council of Pakistan, Karachi, the young girl was appreciated for her achievement. Moreover, Faisal Edhi, the head of Edhi Foundation, recently visited the school and encouraged Rimsha by awarding her a shield and a cash reward.
"Seeing our daughter's interest in studies, we motivate her and try to spend all our savings on children's education, including Rimsha," Rimsha’s mother, Sherbano, says. She adds that she is grateful to the school management for bringing out a bright student. "Without education, we cannot be termed humans," she said.
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