Pakistan has had its fair share of great teachers throughout history and now it seems that Mahjabeen Baloch, 33, will also be added to that list. Hailing from Tonsa Tehsil in Dera Ghazi Khan, Ms. Mahjabeen travels 28 kilometers every day on a motorcycle from her home to a primary school in Kaleri Basti.
This is the only school in the area and was setup as a boy’s primary school. Ms. Mahjabeen is the only female teacher here and ever since she started teaching, parents started sending their daughters to the school too. Although the girls are not yet formally enrolled in the school, they are still very happy to receive an education.
Ms. Mahjabeen holds a Master’s degree in Political Science from Bahauddin Zakariya University and decided to peruse her passion of teaching after completing her studies. This is where she faced a dilemma; how could she reach the school in Kaleri Basti when there was no public transport in the area? That is when she decided to learn to ride a motorcycle. Ms. Mahjabeen’s husband, who is also a teacher, taught her how to ride it.
Since that time (6 years ago) the 33-year old teacher has been riding her bike on a daily basis to reach her students at the school. Wearing a helmet and a burqa, she rides by herself and is seldom absent from class. Even severe weather conditions and security risks can’t stop her from fulfilling her duty.
By riding a motorcycle, Ms. Mahjabeen is going against the norms of her tribal society and faces a lot of backlash from the community (women are accompanied by a close male relative when venturing outside their homes and sit behind their male escorts on a motorcycle). She doesn’t let this deter her because it’s her dream to educate the children residing in these areas. She has six children of her own and even though it gets difficult to maintain a work-life balance, she wants to continue her work so that she can empower the children of South Punjab.
Her students have nothing but words of praise and admiration for her and all of us here at Visitpk.com salute Ms. Mahjabeen for her boundless dedication, resilience and bravery.