Ruqiya writes with the help of her foot. Photo by Ali Afzal

By Ali Afzal

PARACHINAR, 01 July: Though female literacy is not encouraged in the conservative society of Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), yet the girls of the tribal belt have continued their studies despite a plethora of problems.

Ruqiya Bibi is one such girl, who has sustained her studies despite having both of her hands paralyzed and hailing from a very humble background. Sixteen-year old Ruqiya has recently passed Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination, having an ambition to help the ailing humanity by becoming a doctor. “I can write with my feet. I can do everything with my feet. I got education up to matriculation in my village and want to continue my studies so that I can materialize my dream to become a doctor and help the people of my area.”

Hailing from Shalozan area of Kurram Agency, her father Mansab Ali has another eight daughters. Disability is considered a weakness, but Ruqiya does not think so. She does all the chores by her feet. She financially supports her family by sewing clothes on sewing machines. She runs the sewing machine by her feet.

Ruqiya stitch cloth with the help of her foot. Photo by Ali Afzal

“Despite being disabled, I can do all the works. I can read books; can stitch clothes; can cook meal; and can even sweep the floors of my house,” she said.

Her profound interest in getting education is evident from the fact that up to fourth grade she had to go to a school covering four kilometre area on foot. her father Mansab Ali talked to TNN about the problems he faced during the course of his disabled daughter’s education. “We admitted our daughter to a school in a very young age, and she had to cover a long distance to reach school. But for the sake of our daughter we provided her all the resources for her education and finally she passed the SSC examination.”

Mansab Ali urges the government to help his daughter continue her studies so that his poverty does not shatter the dream of Ruqiya to become a doctor.


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