Meet the Girls: Pakistan

Rifat, 12, is the fourth in a family of five children. Since her father’s death several years ago, the household’s subsistence depends upon a meager pension and support from relatives. Rifat’s older sister was married young, and has a daughter. Her two elder brothers study at the secondary school in the neighboring village of Buchal, Pakistan.

When Rifat completed her primary school education two years ago her family felt that a primary level education was sufficient for a girl. Despite Rifat’s interest in continuing her studies, she was forced to work in the fields or at home instead. With support from GEI, Rifta now attends secondary school.


Gulzar, 16, is the youngest of seven children, none of whom have received secondary level education. Although her parents are alive, they are elderly. So Gulzar’s brothers are the breadwinners, working as daily wage laborers who earn enough to feed the family. One of her brothers is married with two children and they all live together in one house.

Gulzar completed her primary school education three years ago, but could not continue because her family could not afford it. Gulzar wanted to continue her studies, and knows that her education is very important. Gulzar is an ambitious girl who would like to have a job after her studies. Gulzar’s parents support her desire to be educated, but can’t assist financially. With support from GEI, Gulzar now attends secondary school.