‘I Want to be a Police Officer’ – She told her mother
Once I was going somewhere with my mother and I saw a lady police officer. She was wearing her uniform and had her hair tied up in a high pony, she looked so nice. I saw her and told my mom – ‘I want to be like her.’
Samina Noreen shares this memory excitedly. So many miles away from her village, listening to her voice as I sit in my lounge, I can feel her emotions over the phone and the josh in her voice. I can easily imagine how inspired she would have been as a young girl.
Samina Noreen is one of the very few educated females and the only lady constable from her village called Mouza Kot Khair Shah.
The School was in Chiniot, 11 km away from their village. The first few years, the girls never attended the school assembly, as it used to take them more than an hour to get to school. Traveling in public vans, standing for over an hour throughout the bus journey, and then walking another 1 km or so to reach school – the girls never made it on time.
Samina chuckles as she reminiscences about those days: ‘Chotay bachon ko kaun seat deta hai … also if we would sit then we would have to pay for the ticket which we couldn’t afford. But none of it made any difference. We were crazy happy, that we were going to the city to study. We were the only people from our village to go to school.’
Her parents are both unschooled, but her father, unlike anyone in her village, educated his daughters and encouraged them to be independent and confident women who can take care of themselves. He believed that education was not only for his sons, but also for his daughters. So when the teachers from the school in their village suggested that he should send his daughters to the TCF school in Chiniot, he went against the sentiments of the entire village and many of his relatives and decided to send his three daughters to the TCF school Vohra campus 4, Raichand Chiniot.
The Citizens Foundation offers quality education for underprivileged children at no or a very reasonable cost. It operates through donations from all over the world. Being a daily wage earner, and not having a steady income of his own, Samina’s father was able to afford quality education for his daughters because of the help extended from the TCF School. Samina Noreen is one of the three sisters, and she has set a bright example. She is currently earning a decent sum at the tender age of 18 years.
The Citizens Foundation School gave Samina the opportunity to gain education and pursue her dreams.
‘The teachers in my TCF school were so good. Apart from the education they imparted, they would also teach us life skills. They had created this drive, this inspiration within us to study, the realization that since we traveled from so far, that we must fulfill our duty and dreams. We must accomplish our objectives and aims. Especially the principal Ms. Nuzhat Fatima.’
Once she completed her matriculation, to her surprise and utmost delight, Samina’s eldest brother suggested that she should apply for the Punjab Police Force. Her father also supported the idea. A few friends in the village on the other hand, discouraged her and were scornful regarding her career choice. (Joining the police force, and that too, for a girl, is not really an appealing option in her society.) Despite the criticism, Samina went ahead and applied for the police force. She cleared the test and was recruited as a lady constable in the police station near Chiniot, therefore becoming the first woman from her village to join the police force.
Don’t you get a bit apprehensive about joining a force that’s not really popular among people? I voiced out my concern…
Yes, the police reputation is very bad indeed, but in my mind I believe that if I am good, all will be okay. You cannot explain yourself to everyone, but your conduct can speak for itself.
According to her, the most difficult part of the job is to interrogate a woman:
‘Sometimes you have to use force to make her accept her crime. Being a human, you do feel pity no matter what crime she has committed. I have told myself, my brain, that this is my duty, I have to do it.’
She talks about the difficulties at the job in a very matter-of-fact manner, which really impresses me:
‘Yes I do face teasing, discrimination and comments like, what are you doing here? This is not a job for a woman. I keep quiet. I don’t say anything in response. My mother always told me not to say anything in front of a man. If someone says something, just keep quiet, they will back off themselves.’
But at the same time where there are bad people, there are really nice people too. I really enjoy the work. I love going to work. When we do things as a team, we discuss. It’s very nice.
The best thing I like is when people obtain justice. When the innocent is awarded his/her right. We support the innocent, since our word is counted as evidence. It gives me a lot of happiness.
Samina travels 17 km daily to get to her job. She is planning to give the test for PPSC and join the Punjab Public Service Commission. She has big dreams and aspirations and plans to forge ahead and make them come true. TCF schools became the vehicle to transform her dream into a reality.
Rabia stays involved in various social causes. Believing in creating equal opportunities for underprivileged kids, she helps The Citizens’ Foundation, Pakistan, to create awareness of the need for providing quality education to children. At the same time, she is also involved with Singapore-based VWO, 4PM’s Ramadan on Wheels project by supporting it through the FUCHSIA platform. At FUCHSIA, Rabia oversees the Marketing and Public Relations work. She is also part of the Editing Team in conceptualising articles and monthly issues.