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Rasoola-MamiPhoto: by Zephaniah

By Zephaniah - Founder, Zephaniah Free Academy, Pakistan

"She never stops dreaming – she enjoys every moment of life, and she is an amazing lady..."

Rasoola Mami is 70 years old and has nine children – five of whom are married.


Rasoola's life is very tough; she was an only child of her parents, and her husband's income was very low, so she has had to do a lot of work. She works as a maid in a home from where she is being paid $12 a month, in addition to food and used clothes, sometimes.

She cooks food at her own home and makes beds to sleep on, which have a thick thread on a wooden frame; beds are very expensive, so here we use this kind of bed at home and she knows this art; she is being paid for this $1 or $2 for each one.

Rasoola also makes sweaters, handmade fans, and plates made with plants –   called chaba, to serve bread -  pratha.   

She has a vegetable shop, too. All these efforts are made to make her children’s life better, to make a good home, to make a better lifestyle. She wants her children to get as much education as they can.

She is always ready to welcome those who can teach her something new.

Dreams and New Ambitions

I have never seen a more hard-working lady than Rasoola. Everyone feels that she is very active, and that the most attractive thing about her is that she never stops dreaming – she enjoys every moment of life, and she is an amazing lady.

One day, she said that she wanted to be successful woman; it was a time for me to convince her to get education. She was shy in the beginning, but I did not stop encouraging her – although it took me a long time to do it.

But finally I did it.

Rasoola-Mami-2Photo by ZephaniahNowadays, she is doing something extraordinary: she wants to be a successful business lady on a small level, so she has joined Zephaniah Free School.

An Example for Older Women

She sits among very young children, and learns to read and write; now she is leaning small sentences of English with other students of the school.

When she joined the school, another difficult task for me was to make my students understand that if this much older lady is going to study, this a very big success for us, so we all need to support her.

I told them that if mothers will be educated, they can help us in doing so many things; when we will introduce them to our friends, we will be more proud of our moms.

And If Rasoola will study, your moms will be ready to join our school by following her example.

Helped and Encouraged by Children

So, my students got attracted to this idea. Initially, the children were very shocked because it was something new for them, but now they help her in learning to write and to understand new things.

She inspires me a lot because she never loses hope for betterment.

Recently, she completed a course for small business conducted by the government to empower the women. She shows a certificate from where she got it, to everyone: to her relatives, neighbors, and other women whom she meets.

Empowerment Does Not Mean Dropping our Values

Women like her are very rare in our society; by the time we feel that time is gone, we feel we are now too old to do or to learn anything new. But such people are an inspiration that there is no time limit to learn and to improve ourselves.

Some people make fun of her: they laugh at her when she is not there. But she does not care about that –  although she knows of it.

This is what I want every woman to do: to do progress to make ourselves strong. We do not need to break our values; we do not have to ignore our family, nor do we need to cross our limits.

The only thing we need is that we have to make a decision.

We need to ask ourselves: Either I want to depend on others or I want to be a self-made woman.  Do I want others to fulfill my needs or I want to be empowered? Do I want to be a part of the crowed or I want my own identification?

I want to do something different, to be an example, but nor I do I want to be just common. And...

Rasoola Mami is an uncommon woman – she has her own identity.

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Disclaimer: Views here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent an official standpoint of Safe World for Women, as an organisation.