For thousands of young people across Pakistan, going to university feels like an impossible dream. Many talented students from poor families who have made it through school are left unsupported when it comes to investing in a higher education. Their dreams and aspirations are crushed along with the opportunity to make a positive contribution to Pakistan’s economic future.

But last Ramadan, your generous support of our ‘Mind, Body, Sew’ appeal has helped to unlock the potential of many young people like Asmara Faiq. Your Zakat donations have supported the higher education of students to Habib University, a respected university in Karachi, Pakistan, offering degrees in science, engineering, arts, humanities and social sciences.

Your kind support has opened doors for Asmara and her family and you can read her story here.

Asmara Faiq

“Habib University always seemed inaccessible to a girl like myself. My family background is far from affluent; my father is unemployed due to ill-health, so my school teacher mother’s salary has had to go even further in supporting my younger sister and I.

Prior to coming to Habib University, I studied pre-engineering at Habib High School. I always had a passion for creative subjects and wanted to find ways to make knowledge and ideas accessible to all kinds of different people.

Few universities in Karachi offer degree programmes in the arts, but after seeing Habib University’s facilities – which include a world-class film studio – and the approachability of the staff, I decided to apply. Not only did the university help by awarding me a scholarship and financial aid, but it also invested a huge amount of support and trust in my ability.

I’m so happy and proud to be part of the Habib community, and despite my parents’ initial concerns, they have great confidence in the university too. Habib University has also invested in them with parent-faculty meetings, and by inviting them to regular talks by prominent academics on campus. At Habib University, wider society becomes part of the experience too – which is not something you see at other universities in Pakistan.

The kind of education offered here is also very different, both in terms of classroom-based learning and extra-curricular activities such as sport, clubs and internships. Studying Liberal Arts and Sciences broadens our range of inquiry, and we take a holistic approach to subjects. For instance, I have learned that design and film can document social problems, communicate with new audiences, advocate change, and so much more.

My studies at Habib University have enabled me to understand the world through a different lens, opening up powerful and exciting opportunities for me. Usually these chances are only achievable for those from privileged backgrounds who have greater access to film-making and higher education generally, so I recognise how valuable the help I’ve received is. The fact my work was formally recognised by the Dean in late 2016 makes it even more worthwhile.”