Awareness

Women must know what are their basic rights: Saba Ismael

Our motive is to strengthen young girls, not to make them immodest: Saba Ismail
Pic: WJ

Women must know what are their basic rights, this is what Aware girls is striving for.

Aware Girls was founded in 2002 and operates in the face of severe violence, not just in Peshawar but also in Pakistan’s tribal areas and other troubled parts of the country.

Aware Girls advocate for equal rights and access of young women to education, health, employment, governance, political processes, and social services.

The work of the remarkable women known as Aware Girls to counter the extremism of the Taliban would be dangerous even if they weren’t based in Peshawar, a city that’s is more vulnerable in terms of extremism.

The 29-year-old Gulalai Ismail along with her sister Saba Ismail and other activists usually meet women belonging to tribal and backward areas of KPK and train them on their rights – and, through its Youth Peace Network, makes efforts to encourage more women into politics.

Gulalai Ismail was also awarded Commonwealth Youth Award. She says “I set up Aware Girls when I was 16 because all around me I saw girls being treated differently to boys. My girl cousin was 15 when her marriage was arranged to someone twice her age; she couldn’t finish her education while my boy cousins were [doing so]. This was considered normal. Girls have internalized all this discrimination – a woman who suffers violence but doesn’t say anything is much admired in the village as a role model. A good woman submits to her husband or father. Aware Girls raised awareness of equal status. We did training that women have human rights, and taught leadership skills and how to negotiate within their families and with their parents to get education and to have control over their own lives.”

Her sister and co-founder Saba Ismail said about their initiative,” People blame us as western agents, but our purpose is to aware young girls with their basic rights. We ask their parents to send their girls to school, even if they allow in case of complete veil. We want these girls to be socially and educationally empowered not immodest.”

The logical Pakistani pays tribute to these brave young people belong to a network of about 300 activists from across northern Pakistan who peacefully oppose Taliban.

PC: WJ

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