Last spring CAI supporters met Hareem, a young woman with a dream of being a pharmacist and a strong determination to achieve that dream despite poverty, family tragedy, and difficulty accessing education. Hareem was a featured scholarship student during the 2016 summer campaign.
She grew up in the tiny village of Deranee in Northern Pakistan, a place she describes as a “backwards area” with no industry except agriculture. She sought extra classes to supplement her basic schooling, eventually earning a spot and scholarship at the Aga Khan Higher Secondary School in Sher Qila.
Once more she saw her dreams of school dashed when a flood destroyed her family’s home in 2003. She had to move into a shelter, and there was no money to pay for school. That’s when she heard about CAI scholarships and applied for help. One year ago she was studying Honors Chemistry at Karakoram International University in Gilgit with her sites set on a career as a pharmacist.
Hope and Hardship
We followed up with Hareem to see how studies are going a year later, and her response echos the sounds of hope and hardship—two emotions that often come hand in hand in this region.
“By the blessing of CAI, I become able to continue my studies,” she says. “I tried my best to get maximum benefit from this opportunity, and in June 2017 I was awarded a laptop by the prime minister of Pakistan because of my best performance. After that great achievement I was very happy from my life. But I was unaware about upcoming examination which I have to face in my life.”
In mid-July Hareem and her father were involved in a horrific car accident and she suffered a debilitating back injury. “There is no hope to be alive after [the accident] but the almighty Allah gave me a new life,” she says. “My right arm was fractured and I have very serious backbone injury. I spend one month in bed, it was very tough time for me and my family.”
“My father, who is the only supporter of my family, has fractured both legs. My family incomes totally depends on agricultural activities which was managed by my father,” she continues. “Now he is not able to do any work. I am in University because of this scholarship, otherwise I have to stopped my studies and living at my home like my other siblings.”
Hareem is not deterred by her accident, and she continues to hold tight to her dream. “Today our society needs the [guidance] of a Pharmacist because many dangerous [sicknesses] are caused by unnecessary use of medicines. I will make my society aware about it,” she says.
She’s serious about her career goals and she’s laid out her plan, “After my BS honors I will do one year course of medicine preparation from University of Lahore which will take me towards my dream.”
Determined to Make an Impact
Though she’s only 22, Hareem has overcome incredible hardship in her life. She refuses to give up, and she is incredibly thankful for the generosity of donors who help her realize her dream by supporting CAI scholarships. “Firstly, thank you very much for making my future. I am very near of my dream, Please support me one year more to turn my dream in reality.”
Hareem represents the thousands of students who dream of a better life for themselves and their families. These students are the future teachers, pharmacists, builders, and leaders. With an education, these scholarship students will create an impact far beyond themselves. Together they will create opportunity for the next generation.
To learn more about the impact CAI has created through programs like scholarships, vocational training, and more please download a copy of the 2016 Impact Report. If you are inspired by Hareem’s determination, you can make an impact of your own by supporting CAI scholarships.