Her fingers traced over the words with restless curiosity. Her heart grew heavier with every page she turned. A little girl, living in the small fishing village of Jhangesar (Sindh), was trying to read but the inked pages made no sense.
Shaheen had never been to school – there wasn’t one for girls in her village. But that neither failed her spirit nor curbed her thirst to learn. She waited eagerly for her brother to return from school, and listened intently as he read out to her.
“A shaheen (falcon) soars high above the mountains towards its pursuit with a fearless spirit, never giving up,” her teacher told her years later. Even as a child, Shaheen was an embodiment of her name. In a village where young girls were solely prepared for marriage and housework, Shaheen dared to dream. In her heart she knew that she was destined for greater heights.
When TCF opened its first school in Jhangesar in 2006, Shaheen was one of the first girls from the village to enrol. And she soared high with each passing year, never seen without a book in her hand. When massive floods swept across the province of Sindh in 2011, villagers scrambled to save their valuables. Shaheen reached out for her books, grabbing them tightly in her arms, holding on to her dreams.
After the floods, people began rebuilding their lives and the village slowly came back to life. Shaheen was glad to resume school.
What she did not know was that an impending storm awaited her and strugle continues.
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