Interview with our student, Esha - Pakistan Program

We are delighted to have the opportunity to share some thoughts directly from the girls we support in Pakistan. In this entry, we introduce you to Esha.

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Q: What’s your name and how old are you

My name is Esha and I am 14 years old. As I never celebrated my birthday so I don’t know my exact age. I am from village Sayyidan.

Q: What does education mean to you?

To me, education is very much important in our lives. Educated people can help and support others in an effective way. Any society can succeed on the basis of education.

Q: How does the opportunity of education change women’s life?

If a woman is not educated, she may face many different problems. An educated woman can earn good and so can provide her children with good health and quality education. A literate woman can easily travel to other cities or places. If she becomes a widow she doesn’t need anyone to take care of her. She can take better care of rights of her husband and children. An educated woman has strong decision making power and can speak up in decisions regarding her life.

Q: What is your favorite subject and why?

I like Islamiat [Islamic Religious Studies] and Urdu. Islamiat provides me the knowledge about our religion. I love the stories in Urdu, especially the love stories of girls and boys.

Q: Tell us something about you that you want us to know. What do you like to do in your free time? What are your dreams?

I now know why Bedari is interested in girl’s education. I spend my leisure time while reading stories, doing household chores and working in fields. I have only one best friend. I want to become a pilot in future. I am very fond of higher education. I have a dream that may my house be the best in the entire world. I want a high school for girls in the village.

Celebrating the Ten-Year Anniversary of Girls Education International!

Ten years ago, in November 2006, professional climber and The North Face athlete Heidi Wirtz and I officially started Girls Education International. After an epic expedition to the Karakoram Range in Pakistan, where an accident, illness and bad weather shut down our attempt to ascend the Ogre’s Thumb, we ended up spending ten days in the village Khane. The women and children adopted us as one of their own, painting our hands with henna, leading us around town on various adventures, sharing delicious meals in their kitchens and telling us stories of their lives (through our trekking guide translator). Heidi and I were smitten.

One bright day, the children proudly led us through the winding pathways of the village, past the gardens in front of every house, and then to the boys’ school. There, a tidy, whitewashed building with three classrooms lay before us. It was filled with desks, chalkboards and books, and was surrounded by a garden of flowers and a high wall topped with glass shards (to keep out vandals).

Naturally, Heidi and I asked to see the girls’ school as well. We found a one-room, dilapidated building with no heat – just a few desks and apparently no teacher.  Though unsurprising, the sight was still shocking/unsettling. There were piles of human excrement in the backyard and a broken down wall. The girls’ school, as often happens in third world countries, had been severely neglected for years. It was there, in that school building, that “Girls Ed” was born.

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