Nabeela

Skills helped me break
many social barriers
that had kept me caged
in all these years

I dropped out of school after my intermediate examination. Unlike what one would expect, it was not because my family lacked the resources but because my parents thought my brothers’ education would be affected as they had to pick and drop me everyday. Hence, my family overlooked my right to education and decided to let only my brothers attend school as not to become hurdle in their progress. It’s astonishing how society works. Everything seems so easily accessible to men — education, resources and even public space. Had I been allowed to travel to school on my own, I would have completed my education.

After I dropped out, I joined Kaarvan Crafts Foundation to keep myself occupied and learn a skill while doing so. I always had an interest in stitching and so loved the work that I was being taught. I grasped how to learn to stitch clothes properly, what market trends were, and what products are required to create successful products very quickly. I was proud of the work that I was doing. I struggled but survived through all the challenges that came my way and because of this, I have learnt to stitch as well as any established fashion designer.

My journey, however, was not limited to learning and marketing a new skill only. It also helped me break many social barriers that had kept me caged in all these years. Where a few years back I had to quit school because I could not travel alone, my work gave me the confidence to travel all the way to Bahawalnagar on my own for the first time. I had gained new mobility and with that came a strong sense of belief in my own self that helped me make an impact. Currently, I am earning on my own and contribute to my family’s income. I also strongly advocate for women empowerment and their right to education because it enables women to be strong and independent, for the sake of themselves and for the society.