Pakistan floods open door to girls' education

Pakistani girls

Pakistani girls

In rural Pakistan, many parents were reluctant to send their daughters to school because it was seen as going against local culture. But since last year’s floods ravaged the country, there seems to be a shift in what those parents are now allowing their daughters to do. Jocelyne Sambira has more.

Duration: 2’22”

SFX girls at school trail under track

In a country where millions of girls are deprived of education, the floods have provided an opportunity for change.

Scores of parents who traditionally refused to send their girls to school are changing their minds.

Aqsa Rehman is an example of changing attitudes. She is only 9 years old, but is determined to get an education.

“We will come to school, even if we have to struggle for it. We will study and become women soldiers. We will help our people by replacing everything they have lost in the floods.”

Aqsa’s aunt, Iqbal Bib, wants her to have a different future from other women in the family.

“We are educating our children to get rid of poverty. We hardly have enough to eat or feed the children. But we are still educating them so that they become better people.”

Even Haji Abdur Reahman, a Father of ten, says he will send all his girls to school:

“I am educating them so that they have a bright future and a comfortable life. We will also be comfortable and when the girls get married, their in-laws will treat them with respect.”

The UN Children’s Fund or UNICEF built a temporary school in the village after the floods damaged the orginal one. UNICEF’s Pakistan Deputy Representative Karen Allen saw this change happen:

“We saw a real birth of motivation in the little girls but also in the parents, who said: 'oh well, maybe we should consider sending our girls to school, well because look how happy it made them and they were really learning useful things’. So we believe that when they take those children back home there will have been a mind shift, at least the start of a mind shift in sending girls to school.”

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.


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December 2017
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