In our cruel society, women are made a victim of domestic, physical, sexual and psychological violence. The worst and more common issue is that women are not considered a living being. People feel proud in considering them as an object to be used according to their needs. Under these circumstances, there are many women who prove their strength by facing these hardships and fighting against them. Many go against the customs and educate their children to the level they possibly could. Zubaida is among those strong women who struggled for her daughter’s education.
Zubaida was married to her cousin when she was a child. In addition to the problems of early marriage, she faced financial crisis as well. On continuous demand of her in laws for child, she gave birth to two daughters. Circumstances at home were already adverse when Zubaida’s husband died. After the demise of their son, her in-laws did not take the responsibility of Zubaida and her two daughters. Therefore, she was left alone to take care of them.
Zubaida works as a maid at different houses in the morning and stitches clothes at night to fulfill the economic needs. When Bedari conducted a session in her area regarding education of girls under the project Her Choice – Building Child Marriage Free Communities technically supported by International Child Development Initiatives – ICDI, Zubaida was one of the participants. After the session I met her and she invited me to her house. I accepted her invitation and went to her home next day, taking some small gifts for her daughters. On reaching her younger daughter opened the door and asked me to sit. After a while Zubaida came in and took me inside to a room where we enjoyed the tea and she stitched the clothes while talking.
I felt that something is pinching her as it was clear from her facial expressions that she is disturbed. Unconsciously my sight stopped at the cloth she was stitching. It was a girl’s uniform. Zubaida was in deep thinking when I broke the silence asking about the uniform. Her eyes filled with tears and she shared that her daughter used to go to a primary school nearby. She struggled hard, working day and night to continue the education of her daughter. Now her daughter passed grade 5 and needs to change the school.
The middle school is far away from there and it was not possible for her to go to school by walk. She further told that the rickshaw charges Rs. 1500-2000 per month for providing the transport for the school. Unfortunately, it was not possible for Zubaida to afford the expenses. She almost cried and told that her daughter is very keen to learn and performs well in her studies. But she can’t go to school as it is far from home. Pain could be reflected from Zubaida’s eyes and she asked, “I stitch uniforms of other girls, doesn’t my daughters have any right to study?” her question was so thoughtful. She requested me to help her daughter get education through the support from Bedari as I was educated and I knew how important education is. It was hard to ignore her questioning eyes. Zubaida said she doesn’t want anything for her, but education for her daughter so that she can stand on her own feet.
I was very impressed by her positive thinking towards her daughter’s education. She was so impatient to send her daughter to school and it was visible from her face and tone. With a promise to find some opportunity and support, I asked for permission to leave. Her daughter accompanied me till the gate with hope in her eyes. I asked her to study well; I will try to make it possible for her.
Next week I went to her home with all preparations done and told her that Bedari will not only provide transport for school, but will also encourage and support her in completing the studies. It seems so normal to help someone this much, but for Zubaida and her daughter it was like a new life. Looking at their happiness and expression I felt I have given them the happiest news of their lives. I advised her daughter to pay full attention towards her studies. Next time I went to Zubaida’s home, her daughter ran inside and brought back her report card. On seeing I got happy that she scored third position in the class. She had tears of joy and they both hugged me thanking in these words, “Thank you so much Bedari, thank you.”