MARIAM

Logon ka kaam hai kehna
Par hum karein Wo jo hum
ko karna hai

I live in Gujranwala. With a family of 10 siblings where my parents earned minimal wages and it was barely enough to get us by. So I was married off at an early age of 13 with high hopes that a better future awaited.

Very soon, I discovered that the financial stability of my in-laws was a well-planned lie as they had greatly exaggerated my husband’s income. He could hardly earn as much as my parents did and on some day, he earned nothing at all. My mother-in-law was an authoritative figure in the household and squeezed money for her benefits from my husband. Often, my six-year-old child and I would be left with nothing because a joint family also meant joint resources. When I raised my voice on several occasions, it was returned with abuses and violence. The injustices left me hurt, confused and unsure what to do.

I was stuck in this situation for long — until, I realized my child needed a better future. Despite my family’s opposition, I joined SFE’15 program in Gujranwala by Kaarvan Crafts Foundation. This was my ray of sunshine and ferociously held on to it.

I can still remember my husband and his mother calling me a disgrace as I brought dishonor to the family for going outside to learn but I held myself strong through it. I compare it to the day my husband realized the potential of the skills I had earned and proudly told everyone about it. Times have changed since then and I am today an independent woman who no one can hurl abuses at or force to sleep hungry at night.

I have overcome and changed some of this society’s thinking that educated women is dangerous. Through me they can see that educated women are still part of the collective community and no else caring.