I belong to a village called Kaghan valley in KPK Province in Pakistan. It is 243 km away from Federal capital city Islamabad. It’s a tourist spot and during summer its worth visiting place. Thousands national and international tourists visit this place during summer vacations and enjoy the magnificent beauty of landscape, high mountains, waterfalls and river Kunhar.
There are three main clans Syed, Swati and Gujjer. Syed and Swaties are considered the feudal lords and usually Gujjer community is tenant. Agriculture is main source of income but there are a few people who are doing other jobs for example teaching, coal mining, there is no electricity in my village but still it is very beautiful when during summer in the moon light you are sitting with your family and having good conversation.
Education is the area of improvement in my village specially girls education. There are government schools & teacher’s absenteeism is one of the major problems. After primary school, girls are not allowed to go to school because those are far away. Men think that girls should not be highly educated and should not be given a learning exposure because after that they are unable to be good wives and good daughters.
There are cultural norms which are stronger than the religion. For example, a Syed or a Swati girl is not allowed to marry any man who is outside of their Caste but men can marry to anyone they want. Men are always ready to protect their so called honor (Women) for that sometimes they forget humanity and religion.
Health is another major challenge in my village. There is a BHU but it does not fulfill the purpose. There is no qualified doctor and one male para-professional is serving the community but it is insufficient due to lack of knowledge and limited medical facilities. Females are usually not allowed to visit a male doctor/para-professional so most of the time they depend upon self or home medication. Due to the fact, malaria, scabies, giantess etc. are very common diseases.
I wish and I hope that one day, my village would be one of the developed rural areas in Pakistan where every child (Boys and girls) will have the right to education. Humanity will be taken at first priority on cultural norms and where men and women both have access to health facilities and equal opportunities to take decisions for their lives!!!