The Columban’s work in Pakistan uplifts the people of the community. In a nation with a literacy rate of forty-six percent, most of those unable to read are young women. In Pakistan, women are typically discouraged from attending any educational institute and are expected to prepare for the role of wife and homemaker; completely dependent on their husbands. The education system in Pakistan is lacking. Women without an adequate education are more likely to marry early in life, have children in their teens, and settle for abusive husbands; knowing that they cannot support themselves. Many women who continue to seek an education fall victim to targeted shootings, suicide bombers, and acid attacks simply for trying to become productive members of society.
Due to religious divides, minority religious schools are in constant danger of being destroyed. Many schools have been set ablaze and left to burn. Christian, Hindus, Shia and other minorities are the targets of these attacks.
As people of faith, our goal is to create a world where all people are treated equal and ultimately have the same opportunities. Columbans work in Pakistan to provide educational services to people of all faiths. They teach from a separate set of textbooks that do not encourage hate and create space for interreligious dialogue and acceptance. Their work is vital in this region of unrest.
I attend a college where the women are treated no differently than men and religion is not a deciding factor of the education you receive. It seems unjust to think about my brothers and sisters in Pakistan who suffer by being kept from an education. Columbans in Pakistan are working to make this dream accessible to all genders and religions because we truly are all God’s children and for that I am thankful.