- Asoo Bai Kolhi, a woman in her mid-30s in Umarkot, Sindh, has established a transformative educational institution in a remote area, inspiring many with her journey.
- Despite facing polio since the age of two, Kolhi founded a school in her village in 2014, determined to provide education and hope to underprivileged children.
- Operating without external funding, Kolhi has used her own resources to support the school, emphasizing the importance of educating girls and aiming to uplift her entire community through education.
In an interior village of Sindh, in Umarkot a 36 year old woman is transforming lives of hundreds. She has established a educational institution in a remote corner of Pakistan’s south east province of Sindh. Her journey is inspirational to many, meet Asoo Bai Kohli who is transforming the educational landscape in interior Sindh one day at a time.
The daily journey of Asoo Bai Kolhi transcends mere commuting; it stands as a testament to her triumphant spirit in the face of life’s adversities. She was stricken by polio at the tender age of two, a consequence of a poorly administered injection. However, not giving up on life or its challenges she steadfastly refused to allow her disability to dictate the course of her life. Instead, she resolved to create a profound impact on the lives of others.
A decade ago, in Meenaji Dhani—her village nestled on the outskirts of Umarkot, the sole Hindu-majority district in Pakistan—the significance of education remained largely overlooked.
Asoo Bai Kolhi: A Mission to Educate the Underprivileged in Interior Sindh
It was in 2014 that Asoo Bai Kolhi undertook a remarkable mission to brighten the minds of underprivileged children. She founded a school within the humble confines of her own hut, determined to provide a beacon of hope and knowledge for the children of her community.
Kohli has not received any external funding for her school. She has managed to enrol kids in her school after engaging with families and encouraging parents to give importance to their children’s education and studies.
Without funding, Kohli has had to use her own money and savings in order to provide books, learning materials for the students. She is highly determined to uplift the entire community through providing education to the children of her district.
Kohli says her father chose to eduate her and she wishes for all father’s to do the same for their children especially their daughters.
“We belong to a society where educating a girl is a far-fetched dream but my father, while living in the same society, thought of educating his daughter so the ignorance around us could be eradicated.”
Before establishing the modest learning center, she used to visit homes in her village to educate children. She lured children to the school by giving them Rs.50 per day.
“I started teaching children up to fifth grade [at a time] when there was no consciousness among people of this village. People used to send their children to work with the lure of Rs50 per day.”
Following Kohli’s footsteps is another young girl, Kaiser Bai, an 11 year old, class 6 student who is a farmer’s daughter. She visits Kohli’s school from a neighbouring village and dreams of following Kohli by becoming a teacher and serving her own village the same way.
“I will continue to work for the school with the aim of helping these underprivileged children belonging to farming families and help them become doctors and officers.”
‘A Pressing Need to Elevate the School Status to a High School’: Social Worker
According to Janib Dalwani, a dedicated social worker hailing from the same village, there is a pressing need to elevate the school’s status to the higher secondary level, thereby enabling girls to pursue university education.
“In our villages, the prevailing conditions are such that young girls face significant challenges even when attempting to travel just one kilometer for educational purposes.We require a dedicated educational facility within the village itself, ensuring that girls have access to quality education.”
Dalwani further emphasized that if such impactful initiatives, like the one spearheaded by Kolhi from her humble dwelling, could be expanded with additional resources, it has the potential to catalyze transformative changes across the entirety of Sindh province.
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