Energy of excellent: Pakistani father trains daughters to be electricians in Karachi

KARACHI: In a small shop in Pakistan’s southern city of Karachi, two young girls bend over a workplace repairing cables and battery chargers.

Despite all adversities, Naseeb Jamal, an electrician for 20 years, has taught six of his eight daughters his craft to help them become self-employed in the future.

“When I had four daughters, the thought occurred to me: why shouldn’t I give them an education?” Jamal, who moved to Karachi from the Tor Ghar area in northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, told Arab News.

“I couldn’t give them this chance because of a lack of funds, but at least I thought I could teach them skills.”

While two of Jamal’s younger daughters are still studying, four are already accomplished electricians and their father’s pride.

“My daughters are making a name for themselves in society and in Pakistan,” he said.

Jamal lives with his family near the site where armed men killed Abdul Waheed Khan, a social worker who ran a co-educational school in Qasba Colony in 2013. Khan dreamed of bringing modern education to the slums of Karachi, where many residents like Jamal emigrated from northern Pakistan to escape militant violence and look for better employment opportunities.

Those who challenge social taboos face resistance and receive little support, Jamal said. “Waheed Khan gave his life to raise our children.”

Conservative neighbors and family members have resisted his attempts to strengthen his daughters.

“If you give your child a skill or education, some family members will speak out against it. But you don’t have to pay any attention to them, ”he said.

As a father, Jamal wants to at least give his daughters the opportunity to stand on their own two feet, he said.

Two of them are already married and happy, he said, which he attributes in part to their empowering upbringing. “I will watch over my children’s future. I will teach them skills and make them useful for the country and for themselves. It will give them confidence and make them stronger. “

The girls who attended regular school prior to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic also helped Jamal run his business.

“I install solar lights and when I’m not home or in town I don’t have to worry about the store,” he said. “After they come back from school, they open the shop and even if I’m gone for three days they take care of it and the home.”

One of Jamal’s younger daughters, 10-year-old Javeriah, said she found the job “a little difficult” at first, but has since gotten the hang of it.

“I learned it from my father,” she said with a smile as she handed a repaired charger to a customer. “I fix lights, I fix speakers, and I fix chargers.”

Jamal believes girls shouldn’t be confined to their homes: “If you want girls to trust and believe in themselves, you have to get them out of the house. And you have to trust them. “

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