Dec 18, 2012

Gulnaz – facing the world with trust and faith

My name is Gulnaz. I am 25 years old.

I am a full-time assistant teacher with Care Channels Learning Centre at Lahore, Pakistan.

I will be getting married to my cousin in Apr 2013. After which I will no longer work at CC Learning Centre.

This is because, like all women of this country, my life decisions are made by the men in my life. First by father and soon, by my husband. Even in the simplest of things in my daily life, such as going to work, my brother has to accompany me.

I do not mind this. Because deep down in me, I know I have changed and will continue to change.

My friends will tell you about the Gulnaz of 3 years ago.

I could not lift my head to look at people. There was always a void between me and the others. My world was my own. I remain in a place that was dark and untrusting, but I did not give up.

I started out as a shadow teacher looking after a special needs child in a class.

I wanted very much to learn teaching skills and how to handle children.

I work with teachers to care for the children. These are children who want to learn but yet there are no good schools their parents could send them to.

The most enjoyable part of teaching is reading the educational books with the children, taking home the training materials to read, writing the diaries, cutting papers for artworks and writing sample letters of the alphabets in the children’s notebooks.

The teachers I work with have become my trusting friends. Teacher Naseem taught me a lot at the beginning. Now, I turn to Teacher Riffat whenever I need help.

I struggled at the beginning because I did not know the syllabus.

Through training and the guidance of the teachers, I immersed myself in the English language. I speak and write in English reflecting on my learning and working hard to improve my teaching and social skills.

I was asked whether I had a special or favorite child. They are all equal in my eyes. I was taught never to show favoritism. My children will say that Teacher Gulnaz is lovable.

Jingle, the principal of CC Learning Centre, said empowerment is a very strong word in this country. What is this empowerment when women have to follow decisions made for them by their fathers and husbands? What hope do we have in living a life we want to live?

I have one wish. That is to get a higher education. After I am married my in-laws will likely want me to start a family.

I don’t know what the future holds but I am optimistic and hopeful.

I am a living testimony that even in such a life, one is empowered. I empowered myself to learn, to improve, to trust and to walk one step at a time forward.

Story by Wong Kah Wei

Empowering (PA), Holistic (PA), Kindergartens & Primary Schools, Pakistan, Sustainable (PA)