Alishba, 17 years, Pakistan
Alishba is a 17 year old secondary school student from the slums of Islamabad.
She grew up in a loving, supportive home but found, as she grew older, that more restrictions were put on her by her grandparents, family and neighbours. She was no longer allowed to play outdoors or talk to boys. The community around would watch her every move and tell her parents that, as a girl, she was not to be trusted going out in case she would get herself in trouble and bring shame on the family;
“They would pull me down whenever I was trying to go on and develop,” Alishba reports. Such was the pressure asserted by the community, that even her own father and brother would not trust her and take to beating her out of suspicion.
Alishba began to notice many girls around her were uneducated due to the conservative views of their families and poor economic conditions. Learning about topics such as reproductive health was considered vulgar and cheap, and education was deemed too costly to the family and unnecessary for girls. Her community would suppress girls emotionally and physically, because they considered that the girls were weak. Alishba herself admits;
“I was also of the view that boys are superior to girls without any specific reason, and I believed it until I became a member of the Plan Pakistan project.”
Today Alishba represents a group called ‘Youth Visionaries’ which is part of the Plan’s ‘Empowering Youth for Peace and Development’ network.
Since joining the ‘Youth Visionaries’ Alishba feels that she has had a tremendous opportunity to learn about herself, her creativities and has found a way of implementing these through small projects in her community. She is very excited about meeting delegates from other countries at the 56th session of the CSW in New York and has been taking part in public speaking exercises to prepare herself for speaking in front of large audiences. Alishba is going to New York with a very clear thought,
“We are all equal, we are all human, and we must behave with each other equally”