Doing it for the girls – a literacy mobilizer’s story
“I am Farzana Sajjad and I work for Alight Pakistan as Literacy Mobilizer. I belong to Goharabad – a remote area of Diamer.
I have done my master’s degree in Political Sciences and Bachelor of Education Degree from Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU), and I have also completed Associate Degree in Education from Education College, Gilgit.
Here in Diamer District many people have limited access to education, and it is especially hard for girls to get educated. The attitude of local people towards female education is very negative. When I came to know about Alight Pakistan’s intervention for out of school children in Diamer I got very excited. I thought it is a great opportunity for my community.
One day, Alight Pakistan team visited our village Khartolet Goharabad to identify local schools and out of school children. They visited my hamlet, and I was interviewed about the situation of female education in the area. After some time, Alight team approached me and asked me to open non-formal school (NFS) for the out of school girls. I agreed to open such school at my home.
However, opening a non-formal school for girls was not an easy task. I have arranged meetings with community elders and religious elders to persuade them to give permission to their daughters to get enrolled in our school. It took much time and effort, but after a series of meetings and mobilization sessions with the parents of young girls, they have agreed to send their daughters to Alight’s NFS. This was ﬁrst private education initiative in our hamlet.
Initially there were 20 girls who took admission in Alight’s NFS, later on 10 more girls joined. I am happy that those young girls are getting education and 12 of them have successfully completed grade 8th.They are nowin process of admission to AIOU for grade 9th.
After sometimes, Alight Pakistan announced a position for female literacy mobilizers. I have applied for the position and got the opportunity to serve my community. As female literacy mobilizer I have to take care for 5 non-formal schools of Goharabad Diamer.
Travelling to my schools is not easy, because the village roads are in bad condition and it’s a mountainous terrain. Daily I spent 3 to 4 hours travelling to reach 5 schools. I give pedagogical support to teachers and also conduct Menstruation Hygiene Management (MHM) awareness session for young girls and mothers, about which I got focused training from my female staff members in Alight. I also run mobilization session with the male elders of the community. It is not easy, but I feel happy for young girls to be able to go to school.”