PESHAWAR: ‘They are girls. Why are you going to great pains for their education?’
That’s what relatives used to ask Ms Taj Mir from Ambaar area of Mohmand Agency when there was conflict and she was concerned about her daughters’ education.
“I was much worried thinking if my daughters would stop going to the school,” said the woman in her late 40s whose all six children are enrolled either in school or college.
Though a matriculate, Ms Mir understands well the importance of education for her children.
Despite her little education, she’s very progressive and insists that little is known by the outer world about the women of Fata.
“Like me, they have gone through so much agony and stress during the last couple of years due to militancy and displacement but they don’t have a voice,” she said.
The woman said sharing one’s agony with others helped but tribal women had no forum to express it.
“They (Fata women) have suffered a lot due to conflict and displacement, which have upset their education, health and family life.”
However, the displaced woman stood strong.
“My voice had been hoarse for days after we were displaced. I had been pushed from pillar to post to care for my poor relatives,” she said, adding that there were around more than 100 displaced people at her house whom they took care of.
“We’d to leave our hometown and our house and move to the city due to militancy. It changed our lives,” she said.
Ms Mir, however, said educated families like her one had tried to make better out of the worst situation.
“Militancy has brought us down from mountains to cities but we have turned our adversity into an opportunity,” she said.
She said when families like hers came to cities, they got access to good schools and better facilities of life.
“My daughters are going to college. One is studying engineering and the other two medicine,” she proudly said dispelling the impression that people of Fata are against the girls’ education.
“Those destroying schools don’t want us to make our lives better with education. Those destroying our hospitals do not want us to have better health. Those who want to destroy our mosques don’t want us to be better Muslims.
“Those who destroy these institutions are not from amongst us. They are our enemies, who want us to remain backward,” she said.
The displaced woman said despite the relatives’ lack of understanding of why she took great pains to get her daughters admitted in the best schools despite problems, she believed that it were women, who could bring about a positive change in society.
“Give a girl education and you will educate an entire family,” she said.