Indian Muslim women strive to break poverty cycle

Indian Muslim women strive to break poverty cycle

by The Daily Eye Team May 24 2014, 11:12 am Estimated Reading Time: 1 min, 9 secs

The 18-year-old Muslim helps support her diabetic mother, father and five siblings by working as a maid—while also taking free vocational classes at the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). “I can’t think of having a comfortable life until I graduate or learn some skills so that I get a good job to feed my family. I think education is the only guarantee which can change my life,” Khatoon told Khabar South Asia. The teenager is an exception. Poverty, according to advocates, prevents many Indian Muslim girls from taking that first step toward improving their lives: pursuing educational opportunities that could open new paths of economic opportunity and empowerment.

“We encourage and appreciate the women who want to learn different skills to earn a livelihood so that they could cope with the poverty,” Shabistan Gaffar, chairwoman of the All India Confederation for Women’s Empowerment Through Education (AICWETE), told Khabar. AICWETE and other women’s rights advocates and NGOs are rallying to end the cycle of poverty that entraps Muslim women, prevents them from becoming educated and keeps them largely illiterate. Iqra Quraishi, who leads training programmes for young Muslim women in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, described how women can be held back by the very condition from which they’re trying to break free.

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