Maryam (left), 15 years, Pakistan
Maryam is the daughter of a farmer in rural Pakistan and the youngest child of 6 in the family. She is currently in the 10th class at high school and travels 20 Km/ 1 hour each way to get there from her home.
Maryam says she is fortunate that her parents are willing to pay for her education, but many other girls in her village have not had the same opportunity. Maryam’s friend, 15 year old Shazia (not her real name), dropped out of school at 5th class as her parents could not afford for her to continue. Instead, Shazia’s parents planned to marry her off.
Maryam reports; “Here in my village parents don’t think girls’ education is important….decisions are made by men, not women. They consider women inferior and weak…lack of education creates many problems not only for girls but also for boys.”
Maryam takes part in a children’s forum run by Plan Pakistan which works to promote girls’ education in her village and she attends the forum’s meetings with her brother.
When Maryam was selected to represent Pakistan as part of the girls’ delegation at the 56th session of CSW, the whole village came to her home to congratulate her. Maryam says;
“I feel proud that I am the one who has been blessed and chosen to raise the voice of the rights of the girls. To be a girl is not a sin; if it is in the hands of God then why the society creates this difference.”