A Day in the Life of a Barakat Student

Gul Bakht is a 16 year-old girl. She lives in Attock, Pakistan. Every morning, she wakes up at 4 am, two ho?urs before the sun rises. She rubs the sleep out of her eyes and puts on her usual clothing, shalwar and kameez, which are baggy pants and a long tunic shirt. She prays with her family and then eats her breakfast—milk, tea, and rice, her favorite.

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By the time the sun rises, she has started her daily work—weaving carpets. Her family of 12 works with her, including an elder and a younger brother who also study. She and her brothers are the only ones who can read and write in her family. “My family have always supported me about going to school; I go there because education opens your mind,” she says.

By the time the sun rises, she has started her daily work—weaving carpets. Her family of 12 works with her, including an elder and a younger brother who also study. She and her brothers are the only ones who can read and write in her family. “My family have always supported me about going to school; I go there because education opens your mind,” she says.

Gul works with her family with few breaks until 3 pm. After changing her clothes, she walks to the Evening School for Girls at Barakat Elementary. She settles down at her desk, smiles at the girl she shares it with, and opens her textbook, ready to learn. She says she loves school. “We learn many new things in school—especially manners to live a graceful life. I like all the subjects.” She takes a break in the middle of her school day for recess, talking with the three other girls in the Evening School.

At 6 pm, just as the last shreds of sunset fade from the sky, she walks back to her house. She sits down with her family and eats dinner before getting back to work. She weaves carpets with her family until its time to go to bed at 10 or 11 pm. All in all, Gul works about 14 hours a day. She usually gets about 6 hours of sleep. Sometimes, just before she goes to bed, she takes out her favorite book—an English book from school– and reads stories. She thinks about her future—about becoming a teacher—and what it means to her. “I want to be a teacher, because teachers play a key role. They help make the lives of their students.” Then she goes to sleep, ready to wake up a few hours later and start all over again.