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A Silver Lining

By Staff Writer

Anwar Sheda is a 34 year old woman who lives in a small village, Said Munir Koty, in Khazana Deri-Union Council in Mardan. This is one of the really back ward areas of Pakistan where literacy rate is very low and the inhabitants of the village are economically disadvantaged. .

According to the local customs Anwar Sgeda was married at age 13 to Sarfaraz Ahmad from the same village. In 15 years they had seven children, three daughters and four sons. She contributed to the family finances through poultry and livestock business. As it was her dream to educate her children, she enrolled her eldest daughter in Mardan Government High School for Girls. Her daughter had to walk four miles daily to get to the school, but she did not get discouraged.

But then her husband died a sudden, tragic death due to an electrocution accident. So she was left alone to take care of her family.

Meanwhile HDF approached Said Munir Koty and the first Development Organization (DO) of men in the village was formed. But due to many reasons, including lack of interest and initiative, it did not last. Due to cultural restrictions it was even harder to form a women’s organization in that area. But Anwar Sheda took the lead and the initiative. She motivated other women in her village to become active and form the first women’s Development Organization. Finally her efforts paid off and the first women’s DO was formed, and Anwar Sheda was elected its President.

During this time her daughter Saira graduated from high school and became a teacher in one of the HDF schools in the village. HDF schools in Mardan are managed by the Tameer-e-Millat Foundation. She also received the training for adult literacy teaching and became a teacher in the HDF Adult Literacy Program.

This DO is a very active organization. Anwar Sheda’s mother at age 70 also enrolled in the Adult Literacy Program. 80% of the women can write their names now.

So now besides her daughter’s salary of about Rs.2500 she receives Rs.700 from her husband’s pension plan. She has a regular savings plan. She is much more confidant about her children’s future now.

Anwar Shead is a brave and courageous woman. Her activism and leadership has set an example for the rest of the villagers, especially women. We hope that this will lead to the development and uplifting of the whole community of the village Said Munir Koty. Anwar Shead will always be recognized and respected for her role in moving this community towards a brighter future.

Date/Time Last Modified: 1/22/2003 2:45:51 PM

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