From Buthqila, Dir, to Fatima Jinnah Medical College, Lahore
Neelam Bibi, who is second among six sisters and five brothers, belongs to a small farming family and her parents are illiterate.
Neelam passed grade 5 with distinction from Buthqila DIL-KK Middle School, Dir, topping the government exams out of 22 schools. After completing the 8th grade at the same school, she was then admitted to the Government Girls High School Kityari to study science, about 10 kilometers away from her home. She completed 10th grade with a score of 713 out of 1050. At this time, continuing education was extremely difficult due to the presence of the Taliban and anti-girlsâ€™ education forces. Despite this, Neelam bravely walked to Asbanr Bazar daily for her ride to school.
For 12th grade, she transferred to the Government Girls Higher Secondary School Chakdara. She passed with a score of 864 out 1100, and was selected for the Stars of Pakhtunkhwa scholarship program as one of the top 10 position holders in the intermediate examination board. She received a scholarship of Rs. 15000/- per month for four months. Neelam initially went to the Institute of Medical Sciences in MBBS, but chose to continue her medical education at the Fatima Jinnah Medical Collage Lahore (FJMC).
Since her family was unable to bear the expenses, Neelamâ€™s father was offered Rs.1.2 million by a well-off family whose daughter was on a waiting list to be admitted in FJMC Lahore if Neelam did not go. Her father refused it. Instead he opted to sell his small farming land to bear the expenses of annual admission and housing for Neelam. DIL has awarded Neelam a scholarship for her medical studies at FJMS.