ISLAMABAD: May 2, 2018. Headlines told of an unconventional educationist who traveled every day to work on her motorcycle to teach at a school for boys in southern Punjab.
Mahjabeen Malghani hits the road for a 60-kilometer ride on her motorbike to teach her primary-school class in Dera Ghazi Khan. Health concerns rendered her husband unable to drive and he, a teacher himself, taught his wife to ride in order to make her daily commute possible.
“I was working with a tuition center. Once I had my own kids I decided to ease up my situation by switching to primary-school teaching — otherwise I was teaching students in 9th, 10th grades as well,” she said.
One of her students was a newly wed young girl and a mother-of-two whom she helped to pass with high marks with her FA.
These days Malghani teaches young children who welcome and await her, the only female teacher on staff, at the school with open arms.
“I enjoy it a lot, I like working with young kids,” she said. “They’re good kids, they try hard, they enjoy what they’re taught, and they want more.”
Malghani was hoping to land on the medical track but when things didn’t work out that way she found teaching, a profession she shares with her husband, Farooq Malghani, and one that he and his family encouraged her, despite cultural restrictions, to follow. It was after her marriage she completed her masters in political science.
The area she works in is predominantly tribal, not known for its ease of education or for women in the workforce. The area is also known for being the location for many anti-terror and anti-gang campaigns, with a large number of counterterror attacks by security forces taking place as recently as last year. Malghani is welcomed by the area she serves, but it took some time to get there.
Malghani is herself a mother of six, and has begun to find the trek she has made for the past six years a bit tiring.
“I once had a horrible accident on my way to work. There were also some terrorist situations happening so it hasn’t always been the safest thing,” said Malghani. “I have six kids at home and my work is about an hour to an hour-and-a-half drive. It’s hard to balance home life with school life.”