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2013 was the year when I completed my High School Studies in Saudi Arabia from a Pakistani School. I didn’t just graduate high school I become adult in real terms when faced with the harsh realities of life. I was born in Pakistan and at the age of two, my family moved to Saudi Arabia, where private undergraduate studies are not affordable for middle-class expatriate as I am or my family is. My first struggle was to get into the public university of Saudi Arabia but Alas not a single university offered admissions to non-Saudis. The whole experience was excruciating subduing me as a human in the place that I considered my home.
It was not enough to stop me, so I decided to study in Pakistan where undergraduate studies were not expensive. This decision was hard to digest for my traditional parents, idea of their daughter living alone was petrifying to them, and to me as well but the motivation for studies overcame the fear of living alone. It took me a year to bring them on the same page and then in 2014, I enrolled for BBA in UET Lahore.
I choose BBA out of my curiously in how far-reaching effects our socio-economic background has on our quality of life and the opportunities we receive. How important finance is in decision-making only to realize that it was not all.
In Pakistan & Saudi Arabia a much bigger problem than finance was “Rights”. Almost everyone in a way or another has been deprived of their rights in both Saudi Arabia & Pakistan. Be it general public in Saudi Arabia who doesn’t have the rights to speak their mind (having experienced the terrors of The kafala – visa sponsorship system first hand or in Pakistan wherein the name of freedom of speech sentiments of minorities are hurt every day.
Gender inequality in both countries is deeply rooted worse women are not even allowed to have their opinion. Even worse matter of the fact is that women accept these traditions happily as they have no idea about their rights and opinion. Because this is the way they have been trained.
While typing this essay I can hear the words of my mother echoing “Good girls of respected families do what their male guardians tell them” or “You need to learn to compromise your wishes in order to be a good wife”
During my studies in Pakistan, I came across tons of stories that fueled my desire to change the world I was living in. When my family moved to Saudi Arabia I was in a culture where I interacted with people from different background and costumes one of my best friends was from Bangladesh & the other from Egypt. To adapt to my adopted country, I was able to make friends and excel at English, learning communication skills, as well as flexibility to value multiculturalism and diversity. I learned to appreciate that each individual has his/her own strengths and talents. And everyone has the Right to be what they desire to be.
Core problems lie in lack of awareness people in these two countries are not aware of their basic human right. This is where the education comes back. Last year I volunteered to teach in a public school and realized that the access to quality education remains condoned. Our contemporary education system is outdated, merely focusing on the process of reproduction of facts, hence not capable to face the challenges posed by the fast-paced world.
Pakistan is the world’s fifth-largest population and has one of the lowest literacy rates of 56% in the world and female literacy rate of 44.28%. Women are treated unequally domestically along with depriving them of education, chances, and training to empower them to participate as a workforce.
I believe that the initial step to stop this monstrosity is to educate and re-educate our children, both Male & Female. Schools should be responsible beyond curriculum educational institutions have an opportunity to inculcate knowledge regarding their rights in the minds of kids at a very early age. Focusing mainly on the first 12 years of education because in this phase basic learning habits are developed. I want to develop a framework that focuses on awareness of education, provision of a new assessment system, a curriculum promoting knowledge, practical application, Invention, higher order thinking skills to envision.
It is an uphill task and requires extensive knowledge and bigger platforms. Hence my long-term goal is to work with the United Nations, which directs me toward studying law after my graduation. A legal education will provide me further with powerful tools and resources to pursue my ambitions with much greater effectiveness and impact. My experience to date has inspired and shaped my career interests in law.
My undergraduate studies completed in June 2018, And with my graduation due early in January 2019. This short course would fit best for my time till graduation as I plan to study Law upon returning, this course will provide me the foundation to understand the functioning of Human Rights Law around the world from an international platform and professional of the field and will equip me well for this long journey.
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