Becoming a community mobilizer – Zarina

I believe that no struggle goes in vain. If you have a will, you will find a way, no matter the obstacles. We were very poor and could hardly afford two meals per day. I started stitching clothes and my husband worked as a laborer. It was my passion to ensure that all my children go to school. I had to stand for my children’s right and fight the family, our
tribe and community.

Little by little, we continued our efforts and enrolled all our children in school. As the time passed, and being recognized by my community members, I was offered by a local organization to work as a community mobilizer. Our community was very conservative; so much so that women were not even allowed to talk to men. However, I accepted the job and convinced my husband that if we do not change ourselves, our lives will not change either.

I started going out to visit other families in my village, to inform them on the importance of maternal and child health and rights. My in-laws, living in a different village, found out about it and came to our house. They beat me and threatened my husband. But knowing that what I am doing is not just for myself and it is a great service to the people of my community, especially women, I continued despite threats from them and some of the community members.

Today, I not only work for my own village but also the neighboring villages. There are no health workers or health facilities available and so I am their only source. The change has been slow, but we have all witnessed it. I also have a small shop at my home, which I run together with my son and husband. I chose a different path, but with each life that I touch and empower, I feel I am fulfilling the purpose of my life.

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