Shaheen Attiq-ur-Rehman: ‘The only way to fight poverty is through Education’.
I first met Shaheen Attiq-ur-Rehman two years ago on a chance encounter, where I dropped by her place with a friend who was working for her. Being fairly shy myself, I did not say much. I sat and listened to her every word. Her passion was laid bare when she spoke of the work her organization does. I have since been in awe of her commitment to Pakistan.
Shaheen has had the most interesting life and was a rebel amongst soldiers in her youth. Her affinity for philanthropy is in her blood. Her great grandfather Justice Shah Din and his wife, Begum Shah Din joined the Punjab chapter of Anjuman-e-Himayat-e-Islam which was initiated by Sir Syed Ahmed Ahmed Khan. The object of the movement was to encourage Muslim boys to attend school. Her father Lt. Gen Attiq-ur-Rehman was the Governor of West Pakistan from 1969-1971.
Shaheen studied law at Punjab University and went on to pursue a career in politics. Unlike most women at the time Shaheen chose to put her education to use and began working for the advancement of the poor. She became the Minister for Social Welfare in 1985 and 2002. In 1992, Shaheen with other like-minded individuals started Bunyad Foundation. Bunyad’s focus is on literacy for women and education for girls. She strongly believes that in order to alleviate poverty it is important that women are educated. During her time as the Minister for Social Welfare in 2002, she started the Department of Non Formal Education, where she targeted to educate women who were Quran literate to teach them Urdu. Bunyad’s mandate includes various initiatives and endorsements for the education of women and children as well as other initiatives to alleviate poverty.
Bunyad Foundation aims to build social capital to empower marginalized communities and in doing so believes that literacy, community capacity building and micro credit are essentials to lessen poverty. Bunyad works in 18 districts of Punjab.
www.bunyad.org.pk | To make a donation visit: www.bunyad.org.pk/donateus.php | If you would like to donate books, or know of schools which would be willing to donate books to Bunyad Foundation Schools, please get in touch with us at www.siddysays.com/contact/
An interview by Khadija Bano Malik for SiddySays