Bright Scholars: Proud Pakistanis
While every Rizwan Scholar is special, there are some who invoke more admiration and pride than others. We would like to tell you the stories of a few who have trudged the extra mile to achieve their dream. In this quest, their parents and teachers must be commended equally for without their support, sacrifice and blessings these young Pakistanis would not have found a way forward. We consider it our privilege and honour to be associated with these courageous and resourceful young Pakistanis. We invite you to salute their perseverance.
Nighat Bano belongs to beautiful Hunza. Her family consists of eight members, the sole earning member being the father who works as a driver for the Aga Khan Foundation. Nighat qualified for the Mechatronix Engineering program at the University of Engineering and Technology, Taxila but may have missed attending had she not ventured to apply to become a Rizwan Scholar. Nighat’s interviewer wrote “I was highly impressed by her clarity of thought, Nighat Bano appears to be naturally gifted, confident and motivated young lady.” Besides this, Nighat is also a straight A student, as are 99% of our Scholars. How far a cry is Mechatronix Engineering from the remote valley of Hunza? Nighat Bano has crossed the chasm confidently and successfully.
“I often don’t know how to react to taunts from the community about my burning desire to educate myself when my mother is ill and my family barely has water to drink!” So wrote Muhammad Imran of Muzaffargarh when he applied for scholarship. Imran’s family of eight is supported solely by his father, a horse-carriage driver or ‘Tangeywala’. With his excellent grades, Imran qualified for the Electrical Engineering program at UET Taxila but could not afford to attend. He came for his interview in well-worn clothes, his modest appearance announcing his severely constrained economic situation. Yet, Imran’s interview notes state “…shy, humble but dignified.” Young Pakistanis like Muhammad Imran remind us that we are blessed with the chance to assist in their development and growth.
One of our few PhD candidates is Mohammad Arshad of Rawalpindi who is enrolled at Arid Agriculture University for a doctorate program. Arshad’s application picture immediately spoke of his life’s challenge. Arshad suffers from an ailment commonly called ‘The Albino Syndrome’. “This disability has limited job opportunities for me. But I do not believe I am unable to achieve excellence.” Arshad was smart enough to realize that his best chance for employment was in research and therefore, a doctorate would serve him well. Mohammad Arshad made us proud by accepting the scholarship we offered him, thus becoming the second PhD candidate amongst our Scholars. Arshad’s application ended with these words; “I am not going to give up my efforts because I believe that there is always a bright morning after a dark night, autumn is always followed by spring.”
Jamshida Iqbal Khattak
The most remarkable thing about Jamshida Iqbal Khattak’s application for scholarship is that she expected to win it on merit and her family’s limited economic resources, the two criteria we evaluate our application against. Jamshida did not mention in her application that she was afflicted with polio as a child. She obviously was not looking for sympathy. A member of a family of eight, Jamshida hails from the conservative community of district Karak and was accepted into the MBBS program at Khyber Medical College when she felt she seriously needed financial support. Accompanied proudly by her farmer father for the interview, it was only after we asked politely about the limp she was afflicted with that Jamshida mentioned her disability. Polio will not be getting in the way of Jamshida’s dream any more than her father’s limited income will.
Shafiq Ahmed Niazi
Finally, perhaps the most poignant story is that of Shafiq Ahmad Niazi of Mianwali whose father, a retired JCO of Pakistan Air Force, was murdered. Later, his mother died leaving five children to fend for themselves with a pension of Rs. 600 per month. Shafiq’s two older brothers left school to support the young ones, two girls and a boy. Shafiq’s tale of woe does not end here. One of his older brothers, unable to cope with the difficulties of life, committed suicide. Supported by the remaining brother, a bicycle mechanic, Shafiq continued his education and helped with the upbringing of his two sisters. Shafiq’s good academic record got him admitted into any program that he applied to, but he fell out of programs twice due to lack of funds. It was upon his discovery of Rizwan Scholars that Shafiq settled into the MBA program at Punjab University. He wrote in his application “I, on receiving the scholarship, will return it on becoming stable. It is a gentleman’s promise. “ We are happy to report that Shafiq Ahmad Niazi has graduated with an MBA and has secured a job as Assistant Manager Sales at Avari Hotel, Lahore. Perhaps Shafiq will be the first of our Scholars to re-ignite the candle that was lit for him.