Women's Empowerment and Leadership Development for Democratisation

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Pakistan: A Voice for Equal Education

Published Date: 
Monday, February 9, 2015
Shirkat Gah

The daily lives of religious minorities in Pakistan are characterized by poverty, injustice and discrimination. Non-Muslims are considered second-class citizens all over the country.

Romqa Andleeb, a youth leader from the Christian community in Khanewal, having gained self-confidence through WELDD’s leadership training, now effectively puts her strengthened communication and negotiation skills as well as her newfound understanding about citizen’s rights and State-citizen relationships into practice.

She is now considered a leader amongst her community as people frequently approach her to seek advice on issues that may require advocacy; she also maintains a close relationship with the local school students believing that to be part of her duties as a responsible community leader.

Recently, the minority (Christian) girl students of the local school informed her of a matter that unfortunately is quite the norm all over the country. While the Christian students wanted to take up computer classes and in the long run perhaps establish their careers in IT, the local Islamic studies teacher repeatedly pressed the students to enroll in the regular Arabic language course instead.

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Romqa Andleeb during a WELDD training.

Romqa decided to campaign against this coercive treatment of minorities. She collected the signatures of the community members which also included the parents of the Christian female students. Initially, she appeared before the headmistress and then, before the District Education Officer (EDO). She was accompanied by the students’ parents & other community members both times.

The campaigners demanded an end to this denial of student’s right to choose their subjects. The EDO has now promised that strict action will be taken against the Islamic studies teacher and justice would not be denied. Romqa has truly put her training into practice and become an outspoken advocate of equal education for all.

Political and Public Participation