Thirteen-year-old Guriya Khatoon has been enjoying her first trip abroad.
Two years ago, she could not read or write. This week she addressed a United Nations children’s conference in London where she was hailed as a model in self-improvement.
Here’s a karate chop to anyone who thinks that low educational attainment, anti-social behaviour including truancy and drugs abuse is directly related to the uneducated home one is born in or brought up in or due to subjected disadvanatge (including social exclusion) upon one self or one’s family by the wider society.
Spoilt brats from this Country ought to take a leaf from this very courageous girl’s ‘first’ book.
I championed equality also of access (in conjunction with equality of information and treatment) to good education as the Chairman of First School Governors in Milton Keynes since 1980s especially for females born in the Pakistani and Bangladeshi community in Milton Keynes.
In my first School Report I had chosen a quote from my Guru – Mahatma Gandhi:
"When you educate a boy; you (normally) educate an individual.
But when you educate a girl; you (normally) educate the whole family"
I have amended the quote inserting the word ‘normally’ as I realise there are exceptions for example I have been an exemplar within my family of three daughters.
For that reason, knowing of Guriya’s inherent disadvantage, I take great pride in giving this budding exemplar a mention in my space. I do, however, realise tha there are millions out there who equally deserve an audience but are and remain unsung heroes and heroines in their own right within their communities. In the truest sense of social inclusion – I am mindful of them too. I wholeheartedly and unconditionally applaud all such exemplars or role models.