22-year-old Sanam Bukhari's essay 'I Want to Live My Life' was chosen from among 20,000 entries
A young woman from Swat bagged third position from over 20,000 entries from 162 countries in an international essay competition. Twenty-two-year-old Sanam Bukhari is a BS student at the Government Afzal Khan Lala Post Graduate College, Matta. She submitted her essay titled ‘I Want to Live My Life’ for a competition themed The Change I Want to Make, organised by the Goi Peace Forum, Japan. Bukhari’s essay is based on the plight of many other women in her part of the world, who have to seek permission from their families for basic rights like education and the freedom to marry who they want. Related: Rani wins Outstanding Writer Award at the NBC Universal Short Film Festival An excerpt from the essay reads as follows: “…I wanted to get rid of my betrothal and I succeeded in breaking it which was not an easy task. I had to bear so many nasty judgments of the people. I got admitted to a Postgraduate College where co-education has recently been introduced; where again the males try to keep us confined to our classrooms only, where there are no sports opportunities for female students; where the female students are expected to keep their eyes down in respect, honor and shyness to the males and where they are not encouraged to participate in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. I speak for myself. I encourage my female class fellows to speak for themselves, to be equal and not be treated discriminately…” You can read the full essay here. However, Bukhari is not someone whose family objects to her education. Related: Malala Yousufzai to receive Harvard leadership award on Dec 6 She is the eldest of three sisters and one brother. They live with their parents in Mingora’s Qambar village and her father is the sole bread earner of the family. He is proud of his daughter’s achievements and wants her to continue with her education, but cannot afford to support her on his income that comes from loading goods.