Fatima Tariq

Fatima Tariq, aged 26, CARE alumni and Access to English Language Program Coordinator

I was brought up in a family of nine siblings. My father was the only earner. He was a building contractor, and did not earn a great deal, so we were enrolled in public schools; I was lucky enough to be enrolled in a school that was CARE adopted.

My whole education has been through CARE. I was educated at a CARE adopted City District Government Girls High School in Lahore. Then, to help support me and my family, CARE gave me a job as a primary teacher after I finished high school and I was soon promoted to an Access to English Language teacher. If it wasn’t for CARE, I’d probably be working in a factory.

Four of my siblings were also CARE students. We’re all very different! But we’re all doing really well. I’m working and studying; I pay all my expenses on my own, that is a big achievement for me. I feel really independent. One of my sisters is working as a teacher in Bahrain where she lives, my younger brother is doing an MSc in Maths and another is studying law. My parents are not with us anymore, but they would be very proud.

When I joined the Access to English Language programme as a student, that was a game changer! I’ve never looked back. I am just so grateful to CARE. My life has changed for the better. I learnt English language primarily, but not only that, I gained confidence, and had a lot of exposure to the world – it has given me hope and ambition in life. If I stand in front of people from private universities who are paying hundreds of thousands for their education, I see myself no less. That’s because of CARE; we are all educated to private school standards.

I worked as an English language teacher at the school I was a student at for five years. My students came from the underprivileged backgrounds, and they were all so smart. Now I work as Access to English Language Program Coordinator.

There was one student on the Access to English course who came from a background of gypsies; her family just had a tent. Now, she is working as a nurse in a hospital and she’s bought a house for herself and her family. I think that is an incredible achievement.

What makes me happy? My job designing the curriculum – knowing that it is going to support these children, who like me, are from not so privileged backgrounds. If it’s going to change just one life, it makes me happy.

For me, the biggest challenge in Pakistan is quality education as outside of CARE, it is very, very expensive. That is why we need organisations like CARE, to adopt public schools, to give quality education.

Today, I see a lot of young people who are really motivated and grateful for the life they have and want to give back to their country. I am one of them. Even if I am not in politics, or a political leader or figure, I know that whatever work I am doing is benefitting my country.

I am really grateful to CARE for just giving me this platform; they made me who I am today.


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