Aqsa’s Rescue

Day in and out all she has known is work. In a society where men virtually dictate everything, Aqsa represents thousands of young women with little hope to find a better life. The term “better life” does not mean the same that you and I would think. To a Pakistani woman, a better life is to bear children and more specifically bear sons. Though medically it’s entirely out of their control, Pakistani women are subjected to harsh treatment and abuse if they fail to produce sons.

Another ill tradition in Pakistan that devalues women is the curse of dowry which has made the lives of parents of the bride a living hell. They work their whole lives and even in many cases sell themselves to a rich landlord in order to pay for their daughter’s (or daughters’) dowry, yet with no assurance that her husband will be kind to her if she fail to bear sons.

Being considered as a burden from her birth, Aqsa’s parents had to think about her wedding on the day that she was born. What made the matter worse, Aqsa was a slave by birth. Her parents and their parents were enslaved as brick kiln workers for generations. Her mother died because her father was not able to pay for her treatment when she was fatally injured in an accident at the brick kiln where a block of stacked bricks fell on her.  After her death Aqsa’s father looked after her to his best ability. Nevertheless, she started making bricks at the age of five.

As she grew her father’s worries grew too because many times she was alone at home. There have been numerous incidents of sexual harassment and rape at the brick kiln. “A virgin, poor, helpless, Christian girl will not stand the chance against corrupt and powerful brick kiln’s owners and their goons,” one of the neighbors said.

 

If all the above challenges were not enough, Aqsa suffered from eye movement disorder and was not treated, again, due to the lack of funds and resources. It made it even harder to find a suitable husband for her.

Having being able to serve in this community for the last few years, when we found out about Aqsa’s situation, we begin to look for a groom for her, and, more importantly, for a way to get her freedom back. Unlike Western culture, in Pakistan elders of the house, especially the mother or older sisters arrange marriages.

Our efforts led to finding a family who were looking for a girl, and Aqsa’s father received a positive response from a family. They were ready to marry their son, Saleem, a factory laborer, to Aqsa.

Considering it a victory for a poor family, we rejoiced as we finalized the date for marriage. However, another challenge crushed our joy as Aqsa needed to be free from the bounded labor. Her father had neither the money to buy her freedom nor resources to pay for the wedding including dowry.

Being aware of the situation we decided to help Aqsa financially to arrange her wedding and free her from this slavery.

Our team visited the brick kiln and made the necessary arrangements for her freedom.

When her wedding arrived, RAM even spent the night in a nearby village to make sure that all went well. We prepared food for 100 people, purchased bridal dresses for Aqsa, and made all the arrangements of her wedding.

What brought joy to us was the innocent smile on Aqsa’s face. Everything went well, and Aqsa was very happy with all the arrangements as she thanked RAM Foundation.

 

Prayer Request

  • Please pray for Aqsa.
  • Pray that she may enjoy a happy married life.
  • Pray for the provision of $1500 for the furniture for her bed room because her husband is also very poor.
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