Mariam grew up in extreme poverty. From a small village in Pakistan with 10 siblings and parents who struggled to make ends meet, Mariam was married off by the time she was 13. At the time, she believed a better future awaited her. Surely, what could be worse than sleeping hungry every night?
But Mariam soon found out that her new husband and in-laws had lied about their household income, which amounted to hardly any more than her own parents. Worse still, her authoritative mother-in-law would siphon off any money earned by Mariam’s husband.
The situation became worse when Mariam had a son. With no access to the household resources for herself and her child, Mariam’s appeal to her husband would be met with ignorance and often acts of violence to suppress her demands.
After several years of tolerating this abuse, Mariam decided that the most important thing to her was now providing a better future for her six-year-old son.
Despite facing a lot of opposition at home, she joined a programme run by our partner organisation, Kaarvan Crafts Foundation. Mariam recalls that her mother-in-law and husband would taunt her about wasting her time and hurting the family honour by joining the trainings, but still, she carried on.
She has eagerly learned new skills from the training and shows them proudly to her husband who is beginning to acclaim her talent in stitching and embroidery. He now encourages her to sell her services for an income.
Meeting fellow trainees also exposed Mariam to a more productive and supportive environment where she has found the possibility of a happier and more just life. She wants to continue learning and polishing her skills, to ensure that she, her son and husband never have to go hungry again.
Your support for Give a Girl a Future will ensure that many more girls and women like Mariam have the same opportunity to transform their lives.