Visually impaired Pakistani student Khansa Maria, currently a student at Georgetown University’s campus in Qatar, bags a scholarship to Oxford University. Khansa will be pursuing a masters degree in evidence-based policy intervention and social evaluation next fall. She is Pakistan’s 2021 Rhodes Scholar-elect.
Maria is born blind who has faced disability challenges growing up in Pakistan. She told an international publication, “I do have a disability, I am blind, and I firsthand experienced the impacts of not having an inclusive society.”
“I do have a certain responsibility toward my community to improve things to the extent that I can, or at least lend my skills or my experience in a way that benefits people like me in Pakistan,” she commented.
She is an advocate for the disabled and is keen on educating people around her about inclusion – whether it is a business planning to design a space for differently-abled or within a friends group.
At Georgetown’s Qatar campus, Maria, who is currently studying foreign service, feels better than her hometown (Lahore) because the campus follows standards set by the American with Disabilities Act. However, regardless of that, spaces still require work to be accessible for those who are differently-abled.
“I thought foreign service or working in someplace like the U.N. would be where I’d end up. So, [Georgetown] just felt like the perfect fit, where I wouldn’t just focus on my advocacy skills and my ability to negotiate diplomatically, but also learn about, you know, the historical implications and the economic implication of conflicts.”
She is most excited to learn from other people at Oxford. “You know, what was most impactful for me here [at GU-Q] was the community that I was a part of the everyday conversations, the random debates, and that’s what I’m excited about — just the environment, the people that I’ll meet, the stories that I’ll interact with, and all that I can learn from those people.”
Congratulations to Khansa Maria on her latest achievement. Have something to add? Let us know in the comment section below.
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