As a small child in rural Pakistan, life was unpredictable for Anam.
“I was born there and attended school for about three years,” she said. “Even as a young girl, I felt the daily dangers of stepping out of the house to go to school.”
Since moving to the U.S. at the age of 5, however, she has ultimately lived a life filled with possibilities and free of most danger. She still recalls a time, as a child, when she never knew what to expect.
“Anything could happen,” she said. “Anyone could stop me at any step and cause harm. I felt that every day.”
Now attending dental school in New York City, Anam is well aware of the opportunities that are presented to her on a daily basis. Simply receiving a higher education – or any education – is something that wasn’t guaranteed had she remained in Pakistan.
When she was approached by Plan International USA Because I am a Girl canvassers on her way to celebrate her first year of dental school, she knew she wanted to pay it forward.
“It was the perfect day to ask me to sponsor a girl’s education,” she said. “I was immediately captured by the idea of giving a young girl a chance to become someone through education, just as I had been given by my parents, my teachers, and my scholarship. I would recommend Plan to young individuals in school. It gives you a great perspective on your own education and gets you interested in what is happening in the world, how your own life compares to someone's in another country.”
Anam recognized the importance of education from an early age. Growing up in Brooklyn, she has been lucky to have supportive teachers and parents.
“Not everyone has that kind of support,” she said. “I’ve also been blessed to have had a generous scholarship that got me through my undergraduate studies at Adelphi University. Scholarships go beyond just their monetary influence.”
Had Anam remained in Pakistan, she would have likely become a homemaker or been resigned to domestic life simply because of her gender.
“I want girls all over the world to contribute to the world, to have basic human rights, to be given every opportunity that boys are given,” she said. “Education is how they can achieve that.”
Anam remembers every day how fortunate she is.
“Whenever I am stressed about my studies in dental school and feel the urge to complain, I try to remember that I am beyond blessed to have the opportunity to be complaining,” she said. “Because I am a girl and because I am from a poor background, I keep in mind that a lot of work needs to be done before girls all over the world can have the ability to make the same choices about their education as I did.”