My name is Samina Tariq. We are seven sisters and two brothers. My father cleaned the houses to make living and we never had enough money to go to school. I remember that it was always heartbreaking for me to watch other children go to school. My father arranged marriages for us in very young age. I was married off at the age of 13. My husband did not have any job and spent most of his time in drinking and smoking. Life was miserable because I did not bring enough dowry to satisfy the demands of my in-laws. There were many days that I wanted to leave the house to avoid the regular beating of my husband but I did not have the courage and place to go. I was depressed and without any hope in my life. One day, my husband beat me and demanded to get money from my parents. I thought of leaving the house with intention of not coming back.
I was crying and walking aimlessly in street when I noticed one open doorwith many women inside working and reading books in small groups. I walked inside with hope that may be some one can provide food and place to live in exchange of cleaning their house. One lady who was talking to other women asked me if I need any help. I started crying. She hugged me and asked me if she could help. All other women gathered around me, and first time I felt that I am not alone. I still remember that they shared their lunch of bread with mango pickle with me. I was hungry for two days and it was best meal of my life. Later I learned that kind lady was teacher in that school. I decided that I am not going anywhere else and stay there only. Yasmine, my teacher went to my house with me and talked with my mother in-law. She explained to her that she would teach me reading, writing, and skill of cutting, sewing clothes and embroidery. This is three years and ten months ago when I found my way into that school. I can read and write now, and embroidery skill helped me to earn money. I would not say it was easy path because my family created lots of problems and many time did not allow me to come to school, but when I shared my earned income with them, things became easier for me.
I have four children now. I learned a very hard way that it is important to educate and learn skills, it is the best dowry parents can give to their daughter that no one can take away. I want better life for my daughters and do not want to arrange their marriages in young age. I learned how to be happy. It is so much easier to share the knowledge and happiness by being kind. I do my best to pay it forward. I am grateful to my teacher that taught me to be honorable and make living.
Thank you my school for giving me my life.