Kiran a young girl of 15 years old is happy and thanks God for giving her the opportunity to be educated. She says that when she was young, she loved to go to school. However, due to poverty, her parents could not afford to further her to education. She prayed to God, “Please Lord, make it possible for me to keep going to school.” Her mother said, “Daughter, it is not possible for us to send you to school.” Her prayer was answered when she received the opportunity to attend a class started by Christian Women Development Association at FC College Servant’s Quarters. "CDWA helped me to gain admission for advanced schooling. I thereby continued my studies, and in three years I advanced to grade 6. My parents are also very happy and I thank my Lord that He listened to my prayers."
Surayia is a mother of five children, four daughters, and a son. Her husband works in a fruit and vegetable market where he carries heavy goods on his back. He does not make enough money to provide the bare necessities for his family. Daughters are considered a burden to the family, and often do not receive education. (This is due to the culture and traditions of her country.) Suryia says that they cannot provide food for their children, so how can they consider spending money their education? Due to gaining the skills of reading and writing, and vocational training from the a C.W.D.A class, Suryia can help her family financially. She has started sewing clothes for women in her neighborhood, and earns an average of 200 Rupees per day. She is happy and satisfied now that now she could help her family. She says: “I am able to read the word of God now and helping my kids to do same. The Lord has blessed me!”
Firdous Anwar is a young girl of aproximately 18 years of age, not even Firdous’ mother knows her exact age. She lives in a small newly developed area of Lahore called Mehmood Booti. Due to extreme poverty, her parents could not send her to school. They had six more children to take care of. Anwar, her father, was the only source of income for the family. Her mother, being uneducated and having no skills, could not easily help her husband with the finances, especially while the seven children were all so young and she had to be at home with them. When CWDA started a literacy class in her area she was the first to give her name, the timing was perfect for her because by the time class started her mother would be home from work to take care of the kids. The day Firdous received her graduation certificate; she felt she was the luckiest person in the world. Today her parents are proud of her as she learned sewing, is helping them financially, and other domestic matters where literacy is needed, as there is nobody else literate in the family. Firdous has since requested us to start a class for children in the area where she lives, hoping that her siblings can also receive education. Firdous and her family are grateful to CWDA and WDA for changing her life.
Sawera Imran from Harbance pura Lahore, is the mother of four children, she was facing many problems due to being illiterate, but she had a great desire for her children to be educated. Although financial income was not enough to provide for the family, she chose to send her children to nearby Government school that was not very expensive. Her children needed help in their studies, but Sawera could not afford an extra tutor for them so she was very upset and did not know what to do. It was announced at church that a literacy class was going to be started in this area, so she gladly joined this class. Sawera is happy that she can help her children because they used to feel embarrassed in school because their parents were illiterate, but now they feel proud of her because she was courageous enough to get education at her age.
Due to this program, Sawera’s life has totally changed and she thanks God for providing her with this opportunity.
Rita Faqir belongs to a poor family. The girls in the family could not go to school because their parents could not afford to send them. She lives in Sodiwal, one of the slum areas of Lahore. Being from a Christian family, she is faces lot of discrimination. She went with her mother to work as a domestic worker cleaning a house close by, there was treated just like a slave and sometimes abused by the owner. Rita says that she had a great desire to learn how to read and write. Being illiterate, she had to face embarrassment many times. She made a vow to come to C.W.D.A class for one year. Not only did she give time to learn the skills of reading, writing and mathematics, she kept up with her work routine. She got a respectable job in a clinic as a helper with the nurse. She is paid better and is very happy that she could help her family live better. She is not abused any more and is satisfied with her new job. Her family is also happy and feels proud of her.
Humaira Muhammad Sadeeq is a former student of CWDA. Her father works in a shoe factory earning approximately $67/month, has 7 children, and cannot afford education. Humaira’s mother prays for a good future for her children. Humaira attended our class in Malipur in 2006, where she learned sewing, reading and writing, and how to make bags. She has become a skillful tailor, she stitches clothing, and makes bags to sell at the market. She says, “I am so happy and feel so privileged that God answered my mother’s prayers and I could attend the classes arranged by CWDA. When I have children of my own I will make sure they get education, and not have to face the difficulties that I faced.”
Firdous Anwaris a young girl approximately 18 years of age. She lives in a small newly developed area of Lahore called Mehmood Booti. Due to extreme poverty, her parents could not send her to school. When she was ten years old, things became so desperate that her mother had to become a domestic worker. When CWDA started a literacy class in her area she was the first to give her name. Today her parents are proud of her, as she has learned sewing and is helping them financially. She is the only literate member of her family. Firdous has requested for us to start a childrens’ class, and would like for her siblings to receive education also. Firdous and her family are very grateful to CWDA and WDA for changing her life.
Jameela is from Nishat Colony, Lahore. She works as a domestic worker in a posh area of Lahore called, Defence Housing Society. Jameela is almost 16, but was never told her actual birthdate. She has been working since the age of eight, if she was not working, she would care for her siblings. She has never experienced a carefree childhood with no responsibilities. She is now a student in one of our classes being held in Nishat Colony, she is now learning to read, write, and basic mathematics. She is also learning fine sewing and embroidery, skills that she now loves. Her teacher, Sheela Lal, encourages her as she looks forward to graduating, and a better life in the future.
WOMEN'S DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION
Parveen is a fifty year old domestic worker, she has one daughter and three sons. Parveen had a great desire to read the Bible, this is what inspired her to join the C.W.D.A. class. After only one year, she became literate. She says her eyes have been opened and she can see the world from a different perspective. Perveen had five students to whom she taught the skills of reading and writing, and simple mathematics. Her mother who was seventy was also her student. Parveen feels confident and proud of her self because she became a mentor and is now teaching others. A person who could not speak in front of educated people is now teaching others how to read and write. "It is a miracle that I can read the Bible." Parveen says, “Those who are educated, it is their duty to teach others. In doing this, I now, as an educated woman, increase my love from God by giving to others.”
Nussarat Qaiser is one of our top students. She began taking literacy and beautician classes in August of 2016. She has earned approximately $80.00 using her beautician skills, while this amount may seem small to us in the U.S., it has made all the difference for her entire family. Nussarat provides professional services in massage therapy and makeup. Nussarat now has a full-time career, and her life has drastically changed.
Perveen and Raheela are two sisters that were employed as domestic workers near Batapur. They worked in the house of a rich Muslim family, and were accused of stealing gold jewelry. The family agreed not to hand the girls over to the police if they either produced either the jewelry, or pay them its value in cash. The girls’ parents took out a loan in the amount of $1500, the amount was comparable to their life savings, and in return, their parents became slaves at a brickyard. One of the teachers with CWDA met them, and encouraged them to join our Life Impact classes. Today they are successful beauticians and are earning enough money to support the family, and help their parents with their debt.
"No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." ~ Aesop
Parveen Barkat is a mother of five children, she lives in Yahunabad Lahore. Parveen and her husband are both illiterate. Though all her kids were grown and married, she still had a great desire to learn how to read and write. Although she is 55 years old she still has a strong desire, and is motivated to be educated. The main reason she wanted to read was that she wanted to have the ability to read the Holy Word of God. She tells her story about the day when her electricity bill came to her house. Since she herself was illiterate, she showed the bill to her daughter in law who knew how to read and write. When the daughter in law saw the bill, she lied to her about the amount due. Parveen’s son told them the real amount to be paid, which was much lower than what she was told, and this gave Parveen great relief. After completing our course, Parveen’s life has been changed and she is confident and happy that nobody could lie to her, or cheat her again. Parveen is now living a victorious life.
Gulzar Rafiq, a mother of eight children, she has five daughters and three sons. She could not send her two elder sons to school, it was impossible for her to afford to pay the tuition due to her husband being unemployed and addicted to drugs. When she was informed about a vocational and literacy class started by CWDA, she thought to herself, “Maybe if I start going to this class, I can learn some vocational skills and I will be able to help my children by doing sewing and embroidery.” To learn reading and writing with mathematics was an extra bonus for her. After working hard to achieve these skills, she began doing embroidery as a business. She did a lot of studying for CWDA (six days a week, 4 hours a day), and earned a lot of money. The Children were happy because their mother was able to provide their basic needs, and Gulzar, her husband, is thankfull to CWDA for changing her life.
Salma Yaqoob, resident of the village Aatao-k-Awan, Jalow Mor, Lahore, belongs to a very poor family. She has seven siblings, her father works in a factory, his monthly income is about $75, which is not enough for the bare necessities. Salma dreamed of going to school, when she would see girls going to school, she would pray to God that one day she could attend school. Salma says, “WDA has made my dreams come true, I feel proud of myself that I am educated and not illiterate anymore. Now I can see the world from a completely different perspective." She emphasizes, "WDA has developed a confidence in me that allows me to boldly express my views."
In July 2016, one of our teachers, Irshad Yaqoob applied for a loan to initiate a small business. CWDA was able to provide her with a loan. During the Eid celebrations, she put up a stall using the money and skills she learned by taking our classes. She applied henna to women who came to her stall and sold bangles. Also, we visited her stall to encourage her and were very delighted to see how successful she was at raising a lot of money.
This was just the beginning and she hopes to continue generating money using this method.