As the sun was setting on the dusty streets of Bhai Pheru, Punjab, Ayesha stood alongside her father and grandfather before the Chaudhry (the tribal leader of the village), clutching her acceptance letter from the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS). Her heart was pounding in her chest as tension filled the room. She knew that her dreams were hanging in the balance and that this moment could be the turning point of her life.
This wasn’t the first time Ayesha had met resistance to her education. When she completed Grade 10 at her TCF school and expressed her desire to attend a college two hours away from her village, her family had to bear the brunt of the villagers’ objections before she was allowed to study.
Yet, at every step of her journey, Ayesha’s family have stood behind her, just as they were now, pleading her case, until the Chaudhry was persuaded to let her go to the city to fulfil her dreams.
Today, Ayesha is pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Management Sciences at LUMS. She is the first girl in her family to complete Grade 10 and attend university.
“I had first heard about LUMS during our counselling sessions at school,” recalls Ayesha. “But when I arrived here, the campus was nothing like I had seen before!” Despite the initial nerves, Ayesha was able to make friends and adapt to the new environment. She studied hard, and was determined to make the most of this opportunity she had earned.
After graduation, Ayesha dreams of starting her clothing business. “I want to change the traditionally-held beliefs that keep girls from pursuing their dreams beyond the boundaries of their community. By maintaining my parents’ trust and proving myself, I can help break these barriers.”
Thank you for supporting the education of children like Ayesha for whom education has been a game-changer!