AJMAN // It is not only the women of the village who require support – young men also seek out Shazia Kidwai every time she visits.
Unlike the girls who are discouraged from studying, the boys usually complete school and are expected to become the family breadwinners.
But many remain unemployed, having little understanding of the job market and opportunities in cities.
“I moved around aimlessly like the other boys. We didn’t know further studies were possible until we met Shazia appi (elder sister), she helped make my job in the UAE possible,” said Mohammed Adil, 26.
Mr Adil recently started work in the administration department of an Ajman plastics factory. At home he had followed the path of others his age and graduated in Urdu studies, then floundered in search of a job.
He began looking outside his neighbourhood after attending meetings organised by Ms Kidwai. “She motivated us to study more. So I studied for a diploma and now I can help my family.”
Ms Kidwai tailored their aspirations with a dose of reality. Apart from her morale-boosting advice, the interactions double as counselling sessions.
“Everyone studies for a bachelor’s degree in Urdu. Therefore they need vocational guidance about the field to work in,” said Ms Kidwai, who draws on family and friends in the UAE and India for advice on sectors in which job openings are available.
While Mr Adil signed on for a short-term business administration course, Khalid Ansari completed a two-year diploma in radiology. “I wanted to be a doctor but after my second year in college I couldn’t continue,” said Mr Ansari, who works as a CT scan technician at a hospital in Barabanki town near the village.
“I left my studies. I was not interested in anything, but Shazia appi gave me strength.”
Another villager, Fayaz Khan, is heading this week for a sales job in Saudi Arabia.
“She suggested I get some computer knowledge with a diploma course. Now I have a job abroad and can work hard for my family,” said Mr Khan, 25, a commerce graduate.