A Journey to School: A Husband's Perspective
Mohammed, 25, faces ridicule from his community in Pakistan simply because his wife attends school. Mohammed believes that an education should be accessible to everyone–even women.
“Some people think there is no use having girls educated. Usually these are people who are not educated themselves and don’t understand the importance of it, so that’s why they don’t send their wives to school,” he says.
According to Mohammed ignorance can lead to discrimination. “Men do not treat women equally and can be violent towards them, due to unawareness and a lack of an education,” he says.
Mohammed openly encourages his wife Rehana to go to school and having a Non-formal Education (NFE) center in their community has made this decision much easier.
“I wouldn’t want to send my wife far off to school, but now I feel comfortable with her going to get an education,” Mohammed explains. “If the school is far off, I would have to carefully consider whether or not I would want her to attend.”
Mohammed can envision the positive impact that Rehana's education will have on their children. “Now that my children are grown up, Rehana will be able to teach them, too. I am determined to provide both my children with quality educations and I hope my daughter becomes a doctor and my son a lawyer,” he says.
Unfortunately, many community members do not share his point-of-view. And as a result, he is subjected to daily ridicule. “Often people in my community make fun of me for sending my wife to school. They don’t understand why she would go now that she is married, but I don’t care if my friends and relatives tease me about this,” he says. “It is not something that is wrong—it is compulsory for everyone and there is no age limit to education.”
While Mohammed is in the minority, he firmly believes that he will eventually be able to convince his peers of the benefits of educating girls, especially as Plan’s NFE centers are close to home and free to attend.
“It’s difficult to change the way people think. It takes time. If we visit them and talk to them and convince them regarding the importance of girls' education, that can help,” he says. “Usually people cannot afford school fees, so if we ensure that they receive free, basic education facilities then we can convince them.”
Mohammed believes that education and awareness can lead to equality and empowerment and he is determined to make men realize that.
“If women remain uneducated, they will never become empowered,” he says.