‘Teardrops’ that inspire: Simple village girl takes on challenge to educate the world

Published: November 2, 2014
Email
Aansoo Kohli runs her own school at her home in village Mina Ji Dhani where she teaches over 200 students. PHOTO: COURTESY JANIB ALI DALWANI

Aansoo Kohli runs her own school at her home in village Mina Ji Dhani where she teaches over 200 students. PHOTO: COURTESY JANIB ALI DALWANI

KARACHI: Meet Aansoo Kolhi of Sindh – the girl who defied all odds to achieve what few others would have deemed possible. She set up her own school which now caters to over 200 students and is the only female in her village who is this close to receiving her bachelor’s degree this year. Aansoo’s feat has made her a legend of sorts in the education sector in the country.

Ansoo, which literally means ‘teardrop’, is physically impaired and belongs to one of the most marginalised Hindu communities in the country – the Kolhi tribe. The brave girl lost one of her legs at just two years of age and has since been dependent on crutches.

She endured the long journeys to and from her primary and secondary schools, where she would slowly but resolutely make her way supported by a stick and crutches. Her village, Mina Ji Dhani, is located around 17 kilometres from Kunri and 28 kilometres from Umerkot.

Currently, Ansoo is enrolled in the BA course at the Kunri Degree College. Her final examination papers are due to commence on November 11. “It will be a great honour for me when I complete my graduation this year,” she exclaimed ecstatically. “No words can justify the happiness I feel.”

The village she lives in roughly comprises 400 households. Aansoo is the only resident who is regarded by the village as an educated person. “It’s all because of my father,” she explains. “He wanted me to be a teacher.”

Aansoo’s father, Kombho Mal, passed away when she was in the final year of Matriculation. “It was the saddest day of my life when my father was lying on the charpoy and all he said to me was to fulfill his dream,” she recalls. “That day, I felt I lost my father as well as my access to education. But baba (father) had instructed me to become a teacher and educate others, which I intend to do.”

Her mother, Rani, works in the fields to support the daughter’s endeavours and is now the pride of her entire community. “It was not an easy journey by any means,” she reminisces. “People mocked me for wanting to get an education. They laughed at my compulsion.”

Being a steadfast supporter of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), she visited the offices of several local leaders for help in getting a job as a teacher, but all her attempts were in vain.

Tired of being denied, Aansoo set up a school at her own house around seven months ago. Starting with only eight students, the number has risen exponentially since and she now teaches 229 students, including 104 girls.

“There are seven girls’ schools in the vicinity that have been lying closed for years,” a social worker, Janib Ali Dalwani, told The Express Tribune. The school in Karo Pali, Abdullah Bhatti, Kamil Kalar and even the main school in Union Council Mir Wali Mohammad has been closed for years, he added. “The ‘educated’ people should learn a lesson or two from this young girl,” chided Dalwani. “Not a single boy in her village has completed graduation to date.”

Dalwani added that girls in the Kolhi community were not encouraged to get an education. Even after her reasonable success, the community’s elders justified their reservations by saying that Aansoo had still not been given a job. “They say there is nothing to be gained from getting an education,” said Dalwani.

Aansoo’s school starts at 8am but there is no fixed time for it to close. “It usually runs till late into the evening,” she explains, saying that the number of students was increasing steadily. “I want to build a school in the village after my father’s name,” she hopes.

The girl is not sure how all this will happen. She is, however, confident that if she could overcome her handicap to get an education, nothing was impossible for her. “My father is my main source of inspiration and I will fulfill his dream.”

Today, her school has no furniture but she refuses to charge a penny from the first grade students. But she is happy. The villagers support her with some stationery and books and the rest falls into place through her resilience.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 3rd, 2014.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (13)

  • Amjad Hussain
    Nov 3, 2014 - 2:13AM

    Sindh govt shud give her the highest prize and BilawalBhuttoZardari must pay her a vist.

    Recommend

  • Dara Rajpar
    Nov 4, 2014 - 12:06AM

    She is such an inspiring women, I hope many of us will reach out to her and extend much needed support.
    Can someone connect her with Malala’s Fund for Girl Education, these are real heroes on ground who need our support.

    Thank you for reporting this and high lighting for us.

    Recommend

  • fahad s
    Nov 4, 2014 - 12:47AM

    “Being a steadfast supporter of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), she visited the offices of several local leaders for help in getting a job as a teacher, but all her attempts were in vain.”
    why is that ppp always disappoints me……….!!!!!!

    Recommend

  • Sana Khoja
    Nov 4, 2014 - 3:35PM

    She is a Malala of Sindh. An inspiration for all men, women, privilleged or under privellged that no disability matters against your will and determination.
    It’s a sad reality that minorities in our state are treated as a trash, especially the caste and tribes like kolhi are considered to be lower but surprisingly whom we stereotype as lowest beings one of them is making difference not just in her family, Society but for upcoming generations. She is more purest to all of us because her weapon is Pen.
    Sindh where many government Schools are turned as public property, where teachers get their salaries witout going to Schools Assu is a slap and example to the the culprit educational culture.
    She is my inspiration and I wish she could get her dream come true.

    Recommend

  • Pity
    Nov 5, 2014 - 10:36AM

    I wonder what BBZ will do for this brave girl of his province.

    Recommend

  • Nov 5, 2014 - 1:19PM

    Why can’t some Pakistani individuals help her by supplying some stationeries for the students and books etc.

    Recommend

  • Nov 5, 2014 - 1:25PM

    I urge overseas pakistani individuals to help monetarily and by supplying teaching materials and stationery. I am not Pakistani yet I am willing to help her The Express Tribune can put me in contact with her.Recommend

  • Born in Sindh
    Nov 7, 2014 - 9:39PM

    Bravo Ansoo! So very proud of you. Are you listening PPP, people of Sindh have supported you for decades, yet what have you given back to Sindh? Government schools are shut, there’s no standard of education, cheating in exams is rampant, and people are paid to take exams in place of their children. Meanwhile, the prodigy of PPP goes to UK, USA to study and comes back and does absolutely nothing for the cause of Sindh’s children.

    Recommend

  • Fazal Maula Zahid
    Nov 7, 2014 - 10:32PM

    @Dara Rajpar: Thanks for guidance. We will connect this school with Malala fund. If we are able to get connected with Anso or any concerned person, we would be able to discuss about urgent needs and the role at ours and Malala Yousafzai level.
    Fazal Maula Zahid
    President Rotary Club of Mingora Swat
    [email protected]

    Recommend

  • Fazal Maula Zahid
    Nov 7, 2014 - 10:50PM

    A very inspiring and impressing report. Compliments to Sameer Mandhro for finding a star in a dark.
    Anso is really doing great job. My salute and compliments to her. I will connect them to Malala funds. kindly send me school contacts and I will ask Ziauddin yousafzai, father of Malala Yousafzai to support them.
    Fazal Maula Zahid
    Rotary Club of Mingora Swat

    Recommend

  • Furqan
    Nov 8, 2014 - 1:22AM

    @Fazal Maula Zahid. Great job dear. Plz Mr Sameer Mandhro provide details to him. Mr Fazal, plz contact Ziauddin Sb immediately and share story link with them without wasting time. I dont think any one in Pakistan is doing a nice work like Aansso is doing so she shuld be encouraged. The govt is sleeping. Best wishes Furqan Ahmed, karachi

    Recommend

  • Adil Zareef
    Nov 8, 2014 - 11:39PM

    An inspiring and thought provoking story !

    Profound and sad….

    Recommend

  • Hazer Gul
    Nov 9, 2014 - 9:44AM

    Hard to stop my Ansu. Really a great effort of a great girl. I hope that many of us are able to help. Forget about so-called politicians.

    As Fazal Maul Zahid sab has mentioned, Rotary Club of Mingora Swat and other partner organizations will help this girl and the school. I hope the writer has provided the details to the president of Rotary Club of Mingora Swat, if not, please share the same including the requirements at school level and her personal niceties.

    Direct contact with Ansu would be much better.

    Thanks to the writer and Express Tribune.

    Hazer Gul
    Secretary
    Rotary Club of Mingora Swat
    Ashoka Fellow, Swat, Pakistan
    email: [email protected]
    Cell: 03249822250/03421113088

    Recommend

More in Pakistan