“Even though I was only eight, I was thinking everything was so wrong with society. Why were women not allowed to do certain things men were allowed to?”
Karishma Ali, Pakistani Footballer
Making your mark as a sportswoman on an international level is hard – making it when you’re a young woman born in Chitral is even harder!
Karishma shows us how you can forge ahead, achieve your dreams, and never say you’re done! This girl keeps forging ahead, yet, with a quiet sensibility that makes her stand out as a shining example for young girls!
Karishma Ali, a 21 year old Pakistani footballer is making rounds on social media as she makes it to Forbes list of 30 under 30
She was born in a remote village in Chitral where internet connection is low or unavailable. Karishma is a strong-headed young girl who’s following her passion despite technological difficulties and patriarchal region where she grew up.
Karishma Making Her Way in Forbes ’30 Under 30′!
She becomes one of the famous well known people to enter the Forbes list alongside Blackpink, Naomi Osaka and many more!
Karishma Ali Is Fighting Her Way Through Patriarchy!
The young Football player is setting an example for young girls by being the first woman from her region to play sports on a national and international level, especially where women are not encouraged to participate in sports.
‘Things are hard for girls here, especially to have a different dream or to do something outside of what society expects you to do’Karishma Ali to CNN
Karishma isn’t stopping at personal achievement. At a very young age, she’s working towards motivating the next generation of young Pakistani girls to come forward and ‘kick off their football goals’ – literally!
She Founded Chitral Women’s Sports Club To Inspire Young Girls!
I moved to Islamabad after primary school, although I would go back to my hometown and teach English as a volunteer at a local school. In 2016, when I got selected to represent Pakistan at the Jubilee Games, I saw a post on Facebook saying I was the only girl from Chitral playing football. I was proud, of course, but it got me thinking that I shouldn’t be the only one when the population of women in Chitral is over 220,000.
“I want to bring change to those girls and those women who want to become more than a housewife,”Karishma
Karishma nearly gave up at one point. As a teenager she says she received death threats on social media when some men in Chitral learned she was playing football in Islamabad.
Of course, she couldn’t have done it without her father, who was a pillar of immense support and the driving factor behind her success! Karishma, the goal-oriented girl learned to dream BIG because of her father. He encouraged her to dream, play sports and live a life which is different.
She Has A Role Model For A Father
Her father built the first English medium school in the region for girls, the Al Zahra Polestar school.
“I don’t know if he was built that way, he’s always been encouraging. He’s always encouraging my mother, my sister, myself. He’s never stopped us from doing anything,”Karishma says of her father
Karishma, along with following her passion has also completed her degree in Business & Management. She hopes for a bright future of every young girl who’s not afraid to follow her passion. Karishma desires to live in a society where women are accepted and appreciated to follow their dreams freely. Where men and women are treated equally and not left out. A country where traditional and conventional customs have nothing to do with trapping girls in home.
“I want to see more women in leadership positions and then sit back and enjoy. This is what I wanted to fight for. …There are still a lot of people who don’t appreciate what I do but there are people who are openly supporting me now.”Karishma Ali
Karishma’s list of achievements are endless. From setting up a handicraft center for Chitrali women, supplying rations to a hospital in Chitral, to being the first girl from Chitral to participate at the Milan Fashion week, there’s no stopping girl
Carry on Karishma. You are the torch bearer for many young women who lead the way. If you can achieve so much at 23 years of age, imagine what you can do in the next decade – the sky is the limit, there’s no stopping you!
For more on Karishma, Read here.
Zoha loves to talk about entertainment. “I’m a writing fanatic, who seeks opportunities to connect myself to the world in a way to make people believe that to bring change in a society is to be real, no matter from where you belong”. Connect with her on Instagram!