This is part of a limited, annual, series, “14 Days, 14 Stories”, about ordinary Pakistanis who are doing extraordinary things in order to give back to Pakistan.
Hailing from Mand village in the Kech District area of Balochistan, Zubaida Jalal started her political career in 1988. Since then, she has been working tirelessly to make Pakistan’s education system more inclusive. As the Education Minister in President’s Musharraf era, she made sure all religious seminaries in Pakistan were providing mainstream modern education, as well. Her curriculum update efforts were widely lauded and her support for girls’ education is not a secret.
What many don’t know about her is that Zubaida runs in a school for girls in one of the most difficult areas in Pakistan
This was done with the support of her father and during times when it was not even allowed for the women to go to schools given the strictly conservative Baloch society. Zubaida, along with her sister, taught every single subject herself in the beginning, to almost 500 female students who joined the school.
“There were no TVs, social media etc. back then. It was a challenge to teach the students the basics of Science. So what we would do is get out of the classroom, go to the mountains, streams etc. and would teach them about the flora, fauna, rainbow and similar basic natural phenomena. We would take stones, color them with different colors and would teach them about the sun, the moon and the planets through them because we did not have video or ICT facilities. Since the village did not have a lot of facilities, we would go to Turbat, Balochistan to buy whatever books we could find from our own pockets” tells Zubaiada Jalal.
Her tireless efforts for education, in Pakistan, aren’t just for show or political applause
Before the elections of 2013, Jalal personally went knocking from door to door in her district, asking people about the challenges they had been facing regarding the education of their children. She then took it upon herself to address all of these challenges and personally got the out-of-school children enrolled in a local public school, in her constituency. The campaign was named Vote for Education.
“Balochistan will prosper and Pakistan will live a s a united force. Lives will change, peace will prevail. Because of Education, we will all be equal. Every child from Balochistan and the rest of Pakistan will go to school. This time, we should convince everyone to vote for Education and only Education,” she said during the campaign and she fortunately she never backed out on her promise.
Jalal’s school is still up and running where hundreds of Balcohi children are now being equipped with proper education. She is of the view that extremism is a barrier to development in Pakistan and the only key to globalization and moving forward in the fast paced world is equal education and enlightened moderation.
For more stories from our series about extraordinary Pakistanis check out “14 Days, 14 Stories“.
Cover Image Via: wn.com