I applied for Atlas Corps fellowship program with an aim and purpose in my mind to improve myself to better serve my community. I am very pleased and honored to work with Empowered Women International under the fellowship program, where I was provided with an opportunity to serve immigrants, refugees and American born low income women. As part of EWI, I helped immigrants, refugees and low income American born women in being economically mobile, financially stable and socially engaged. Working with the women from all over the world in the pace of socio-economic development broadened my understanding of the concept of women empowerment. These women inspired me with their resilience, courage, consistency and passion and accomplishments.
Being part of Atlas Corps and working with EWI, I was exposed to the problems which the rest of the world is facing. I was exposed to the fact that even the world power, the United States is not without problems. Social injustice and discrimination against women, Muslims, refugees, immigrants and African American are the potential threats to the values on which the country has evolved so far. Being an Atlas Corps fellow and working with Empowered Women International made me realize every day that whatever suffering is happening in anywhere in the world, is not fine to happen. People are not supposed to die of war, hunger, terrorism and most importantly and sadly because of international politics.
Throughout my fellowship, I was surrounded by wonderful people who care for social justice, women equality, LGBT rights, immigrants’ rights, refugees, in short who care for humanity and stand with humanity without any border. Surrounded by such amazing people, now I am not only concern about the Afghan refugees living in Pakistan, I am concerned about the 21.3 million refugees all over the world. I am not only concerned about the locally displaced population in Pakistan, due to the war against terrorism, I am concerned about the 34,000 people who are forcibly displaced every day around the world. I am not only concerned about poverty in some rural areas of Pakistan, I am concerned about poverty in Africa, Asia and everywhere else in the world.
The fellowship changed my perspective on the differences between different societies and communities. It gave me a broader understanding of the values which we carry forward as a community. Now I understand the idea behind the individualistic approach on which the Western societies are formed. Also, I am in a more better position to strongly hold on to the values on which my own society has been formed. I got to explore different cultures and realized how our cultures transform our identities and our perceptions.
The overseas fellowship not only helped me grow professionally, but also helped me grow personally. It gave me the confidence and the realization of my capability to face any challenging situation. Living in a new world without any comfort zone, adopting the new culture helped me explore my own self which I never knew before. The overseas fellowship experience made me more independent, flexible, adoptable and tolerant towards other people, their values, their culture and their way of living.
The amazing fellows of Atlas Corps and the fellows of other exchange programs at my host organization and the American people with whom I interacted during my fellowship experience, inspired me every day, with their amazing talents, intellectual thoughts and passion to make a difference in the world. I am very thankful to Atlas Corps, EWI and all my friends who made this journey a wonderful and life changing experience for me.