Stories of Success

A Story of Resilience

Nida Ishaq

Nida is a graduate of DIL Madina Colony School. Her father was addicted to drugs and used to beat his wife and daughters. Since Nida was keen to study and had dreamt of becoming a doctor since childhood, her mother decided to send her to school while her father was out of the house. The moment her father discovered she was attending school, he beat her. And one day, he hastily arranged her marriage to an uneducated boy for money. Nida resisted, so the beatings became more and more frequent. Yet she never lost hope. After gracefully overcoming these obstacles with the help of her mother, sisters, and DIL teachers, Nida finally tasted success. She has now been working at a prestigious civil hospital for the last 3 years as a physician. Incredibly, she has cured her once broken father of his drug addiction. Today, he assists his daughter at her private clinic in the evenings, proud to be the father of Dr. Nida Ishaq.

A Story of Becoming

Daksh Lal

When you meet 13-year-old DIL student Daksh Lal, his infectious smile masks the fear and dread of not knowing whether his family will eat the next day. He’s seen the hardship his father, a day laborer, faces trying to earn their daily bread, making but $70 a month for a family of six. Daksh Lal himself works weekends at a local shop making a meager $1.60 a month, all of which he hands to his father. He knows the only path to a secure, salaried position is a strong education. “I wanted to go to the best school in my neighborhood, but when I learned it was 20 km from my house, I asked the principal for help paying for transport. I was thrilled when DIL offered to pay for my fare! And I promised then I’d make her and DIL proud.” Word has it that Daksh Lal hasn’t disappointed.


A Story of Discovery

Ali Zain

Ali Zain was always a timid boy, hesitant to do group activities and not nearly as fond of books as his class-fellows. His teachers and DIL NOWA Janwri Goth’s librarian had to coax him into staying in the story book section in lieu of hiding. It was no use, though, because when Ali did select a book, he would never get through more than a few pages.

Would a different tactic work?

One day the librarian offered him a book with stories about children planting and nurturing flowers. He was glued to the page, and the librarian had to gently pry away the book as his classmates put their reading materials away. Now in Grade 2, Ali not only enjoys reading about plants and flowers, but he is also always the first to raise his hand to read aloud.

A Story of Compassion

Shumaila & Rozeena

One day, in the small Sindhi village of Larhi, two young sisters—Shumaila and Rozeena—suddenly stopped attending their local DIL school. At first their teachers and class-fellows were worried that the girls had taken ill, but the students soon learned that the sisters had been absent because Shumaila and Rozeena’s father was in poor health and too frail to work. Since the family’s sole source of income was their livestock, the girls had to stay at home to help their mother care for the animals—all just so their family could scrape by.

As soon as the sisters’ classmates discovered the hardship they were facing, they sprung into action to bring Shumaila and Rozeena back.

Not only did they visit the girls’ home to check on them, but they also pointed out to the parents that if their daughters were able to complete a holistic education with access to advanced learning programs, they would be able to support themselves and their family in the future. To help the Shumaila and Rozeena with their financial burdens, the classmates raised funds that would cover the cost of stationery, folders, and notebooks. The sisters are back in school, and to this day, benefit from the kindness and insight of their fellow students, who continue to help them pay for the things they need. 

A Story of Courage

Faiza Memon

In the rustic hamlet of Razal Memon in Khairpur, Sindh, many young girls have fought for their right to a quality education, defying feudal, socially conservative mores. Faiza Memon is one of five sisters whose father was routinely mocked by people in their village for failing to produce a male heir. Although her father hadn’t valued girls’ education, Faiza persuaded him that she could accomplish as much as any son, and that she deserved an education that would pave the path toward financial independence and prepare her for a career in engineering. After graduating from DIL IRC school, Faiza gained admission to the prestigious Quaid-e-Awam University of Engineering, Science, and Technology. Her father needed more time to get used to his daughter leaving home to follow her dreams, forbidding her to use a mobile phone or social media while she was away. Yet despite these restrictions and the pain of not having her sisters close by, Faiza worked hard to complete her degree in electrical engineering.

She returned to her village to share the good news, proving that a girl can achieve greatness and silencing her father’s bullies. “I want every girl in Razal Memon to get an education. My story shows that the future belongs to women.”

A Story of Taking Wing

In the midst of a global plague that threatens to jeopardize children’s education comes a uniquely inspiring TEDx talk. In “Fly, I Must,” Afreen Mushtaq, a DIL graduate, explains how she nurtured her dreams in a world full of obstacles and challenges. Afreen’s journey took her from one of the world’s largest slums to the prestigious Institute of Business Administration (IBA) in Karachi.

In the throes of Covid-19, which has imperiled the state of children’s education across the globe, comes a uniquely inspiring TEDx talk. In “Fly, I Must,” Afreen Mushtaq, a DIL graduate, shares her story of taking wing.


A Story of Coming of Age

Mubashir Malik

Growing up in Asia’s largest slum, Orangi, presented 12-year-old Mubashir Malik with a raft of challenges. One of the hardest, he shares, was seeing his father struggle to continue funding his eight children’s education on a mall worker’s salary in a time of unprecedented inflation. Mubashir was keenly aware of the pressure men face to hide their emotions, sensing that his father was falling into depression.

But he was not about to let unhealthy masculine norms stymie his family’s well-being.

That he was enrolled at DIL Secondary School Asman did not stop Mubashir from promising his father that he would take a part-time job doing repairs at a motorbike shop after school. His father was not happy about this, concerned that his son may fall behind in his studies. Luckily, though, Mubashir managed to maintain strong academic performance, delighted to make his father proud.

A Story of Artfulness

Reshma Hassan

A young lady who attends DIL School Khuhra in Khairpur, Reshma Hassan is the first to admit that her family are narrow-minded on the topic of girls’ education. Her father was convinced that it is not safe for girls to venture outside. Although Reshma begged him to let her go to school, he refused. One day, however, Reshma approached him with a bargain—her father should let her enroll if she could simultaneously discharge all of her domestic duties.

But there was a problem. Even with her family’s permission, Reshma could not afford the cost of transportation to school, so she took to making and selling handicraft. Her artisanal skill proved effective, allowing her not just to fund her own transport, but also save money that would later cover the cost of her mother’s medical treatment. With a smile, Reshma notes that her father now boasts about her to his relatives.

A Time of Perseverance

After 6 months of uncertainty, isolation, and illness brought on by the initial outbreak of the coronavirus, DIL students share not only how far they’ve come, but also their deepest fears and hopes as they look beyond crisis to the future.