Championing gender equality in Pakistan, Noor Ahmed is a relentless women’s rights activist. It was through providence and Noor’s persistence that we connected on Facebook while watching a Facebook Live event on Women for Women International’s discussion on Syrian women refugees. As the speakers shared heartbreaking stories of courageous women trying to protect themselves and their families, we both sent messages applauding their strength and valor. Noor saw my comments, reached out to me on Facebook, and asked that I mentor him on sharing stories about women and girls in his own community.
Noor is on a mission to locate help from anywhere in the world for the women and girls he works with. He is indeed living proof that one person armed with passion, fighting for justice can be an unstoppable force. Noor began sending me photos and short captions of individual cases of hardship, marginalisation and inequalities.
Noor was born in the village of Mirpurkhas, in the province of Sindh (Pakistan), in 1975. He has three brothers and two sisters. Graduating from the University of Sindh, he earned his MBA in marketing in 1998 and then an MA in Sociology from the same university in 2014. He has been working in the social sector since 2011 on many advocacy projects.
Tell me about your work
I am an employee of Baanhn Beli (an NGO striving to achieve gender equality), working to implement a project on gender justice in several districts of the Southern province of Sindh including the city of Mirpurkhas. My responsibility is to listen to the stories of girls and women; ensuring their voices are heard. It is my job to educate them about their constitutional rights and help them receive benefits within their rights. Moreover, we also provide different kinds of training to women in a bid to empower them economically. Lastly, I am also responsible for reporting cases of victimization to organizations that offer such women legal, psychological, and other support needed.
What drove you to do the work you do?
I come from a poor family, helping my father in the fields and spending almost all my life in the village. I have seen victimization with my own two eyes. Personally speaking, I know that man-made inequalities are real barriers especially to those who cannot afford to live a life of dignity, or who are unable to enjoy their rights. Girls and women suffer the most, facing discrimination as they are regarded as men’s property. This goes against every ethical and moral value that I embrace. I am in this world for a purpose, which is to support those who are vilified and have no access to justice. I feel it is my duty to work for girls and women, with an aspiration to alleviate their plight by offering practical support they need. Even though I see so much injustice, my ethical and moral values keep me motivated.
What frustrates you about your work and mission?
When service providers, including government institutions deny girls and women their rights.
What kind of help do you hope to get by sharing this incredible story?
I hope that by sharing stories of these girls and women, I am able to get them help they need. I want people to hear what these women go through, their daily life struggles and to also see their resilience in the face of immense challenges.
Baanhn Beli is a Pakistani NGO that “helps build a society in Pakistan that ensures justice, gender equity, economic betterment and truly representative democracy by facilitating a tolerant and enlightened environment, which enables the pursuit of harmony with nature and excellence in human creativity and conduct.”
The entity works on multiple projects pertaining to women’s education, climate change, micro credit, gender justice and more. To find out more, check out their website.
This article was originally published on WeTriumph
Image credits: Shagufta Ahmed