Ayesha’s Story from Pakistan
In honor of the International Day of the Girl, we are sharing inspiring girls' stories from different parts of the world about the challenges they have overcome.
Ayesha, * 21, lives in Swat, Pakistan – a region that was devasted by years of rule by the Taliban. But great adversaries sometimes bring out the strongest of characters. Ayesha, working as a Listening, Discussion and Action Group Facilitator for EAI-Pakistan, is one of them. In the last two years, she has provided a safe space for young women and girls in her community to come together and talk about what rights they have and how to use them to have more control over their own lives and choices.
For Ayesha, equality for all means equality for all and as part of her regular meetings she encourages women belonging to minority religions to come and join the conversations. Many of the women who joined told her that for the first time ever, they felt like a part of the community.
After two years of establishing her group, Ayesha has seen change in her community that has reverberated in her entire locality.
Living my early teens when the Taliban ruled my beautiful town was scary. What was once called the Switzerland of Pakistan was now in shambles. Girls could not even get out of their house let alone go to school. Working with EAI as a Listening, Discussion and Action Group Facilitator I finally had the feeling that I could be in control of my own story. I managed to bring together a group of 20 women belonging to minority religions – a group we would barely interact with before. Now, we meet every month and not only learn about our rights, but also discuss our dreams and aspirations. The group has provided a safe space for us women. Now, even the men in my community want to join in. It is so nice to see that people would choose to better themselves when given the chance.
*name changed to protect identity as Swat remains a conservative, high-risk region.