PAKISTAN: Devoted Afghan dad Mia Khan has been hailed for going the extra mile to help his daughter achieve her dream of becoming a doctor.
Every day, the daily wage laborer, from Sharan city in Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika province, travels 12 km on his motorcycle to take Rozai to school.
And when classes end, he is there for the long and hazardous journey home through tough borderland terrain.
“You know, we don’t have any female doctors in our town. It is my ultimate wish to see my daughter as its first female doctor. I want her to serve humanity,” Khan told Arab News.
Paktika shares a 300 km border with Pakistan’s newly merged tribal districts of North and South Waziristan and parts of Balochistan province, where powerful patriarchal norms still dictate most women’s lives.
But Rozai and her father are determined to buck the trend through her tuition at Nooranya School, a community educational institution built by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan.
Rozai told Arab News: “We have to travel a long distance and I would like for a school to be established closer to our home. We are often tired (from our journey) when we arrive at school and sometimes, we are late.”
Saif-ur-Rehman Shahab, a representative of the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, told Arab News that Khan, who has for years taken his children to school on a motorcycle, deserved all the plaudits he could get. Khan has two sons and seven daughters.
“Khan gets his children, specifically his daughter Rozai, educated in a very challenging situation. We have deteriorating security and poor awareness about girls’ education here. Khan is facing acute financial challenges working as a daily wage laborer. I deeply appreciate him for facing all these challenges boldly to educate his daughter,” Shahab said.
Hikmat Safi, an adviser to Afghanistan’s chief executive, said Khan’s passion was an inspiration to others. “Amid brewing insecurity coupled with cultural limitations, this is a really positive change when people like Khan come out to educate their children, primarily daughters.”
Nooranya School has 220 female students and is one of hundreds of community-based classes and schools, predominantly attended by girls, set up by the committee in various parts of Paktika province.