Fellow Since 1998
Marvi Rural Development Organization
This profile was prepared when Ghulam Sughra Solangi was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1998.
The New Idea
Born out of a culture of poverty and repression, Sughra has come to believe that until physical development (e.g. roads, electricity, water supply, and schools) is accompanied by an attitudinal change, the quality of life for women will remain unchanged. In rural Pakistan, women are unable to derive any benefit from most developments in their communities because of customs that discriminate against them. Sughra has turned her energies towards bringing attitudinal change in rural villages. She is enabling young girls to go to school and become educated and empowered by addressing the economic barriers – faced most starkly by their mothers – to their education. Initially Sughra tried to bring about attitudinal change in the classroom. As the first female high school graduate in her village, she was appointed the sole teacher at a newly formed Girls Government School. However there were no girl students to teach, as parents were not motivated to send their daughters to school. Sughra diagnosed that the opposition to female education sprang as much from poverty as from current social customs. She has therefore implemented income generating work and secured sources of credit so that women can achieve the role of a "bread earner," can claim a say in the decision to send their girls to school, and can demonstrate to men that they are capable of something more than just housework and child rearing.