NEW DELHI: Razia Sultana, a teenager from a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut district, was awarded the United Nations Special Envoy for Global Education’s Youth Courage Award on Friday. The award is in recognition of her efforts to help liberate 48 children from child labour bondage and motivate them to go to school.

On Friday, the world learnt about Razia’s struggle and courage as she recounted her tale to youth delegates from across the world in New York.

The day was observed by the UN as Malala Day to highlight and emulate child activist Malala Yousufzai’s fight for education.

Razia, named after India’s first woman ruler, has been fighting an uphill battle at her Nanglakhumba village in Meerut. School education for this class XII student would have remained a distant dream since she had begun working to help her family when she was only five.

Most households in Nanglakhumba village, where inhabitants are predominantly Muslim, eke out a living by stitching footballs.

“Education was considered an unnecessary distraction that hurt the family’s income,” said Sher Khan, an activist from Bachpan Bachao Andolan (BBA), an NGO.

In 2005, BBA activists initiated a programme to make the village child-friendly. “We would visit villages and explain the importance of education and rights of a child,” said Rakesh Senger of the BBA.

But they met with huge protests. Parents refused to allow the children to give up football stitching and go to school instead. It was more difficult to convince parents about girls education.

Razia’s father, who is now proud of his daughter, had also refused to send her to school on the same plea.

It took Razia two years to break the shackles of child labour. Later a panchayat (village council) was formed in the village and Razia was elected its head. She went on to become a leader of the National Children’s Parliament.

By arrangement with Times of India

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Comments (23)

July 14, 2013 8:34 am

no pakistani comments. what happened?????? had the news been about something bad to muslims . this forum would be inundated with thousands of anti Indian comments

July 14, 2013 9:44 am

Congrats Razia. India will lead the world no doubt.

July 14, 2013 10:49 am

On Friday, the world learnt about Razia’s struggle and courage as she recounted her tale to youth delegates from across the world in New York,but surprisingly we Indians are hearing today only through Dawn.

July 14, 2013 2:13 pm

@Fazza: This article has been taken from Times of India so I would suggest you to go through that first

July 14, 2013 2:15 pm

Such courageous teenagers will help our nations to go ahead on education path.

July 14, 2013 4:21 pm

@Fazza: As an Indian, surprisingly, you seem to WANT to get your news only through DAWN. That does not mean that DAWN is the only newspaper to report this news. FYI, please read the bottom CREDITs for this news - It's from the the TOI.

real Indians
July 14, 2013 6:16 pm

Just mater of time before she is raped and lynched because her being a muslim and a girl in india or maybe due to her cast?

July 14, 2013 10:43 pm

Beautiful girl, beautiful work. May GOD bless her and her family.

July 15, 2013 12:58 am

Well done Razia, The people like you make this world worth living and not those butchers and their collaborator who make this world like hell. They should look at this little girl. It is not a question of religion, rather a pride of Subcontinent. Both girls are our pride. We salute them.

vivek patil
July 15, 2013 3:43 am

Razia, named after India’s first woman ruler,??? Please educate us

July 15, 2013 6:14 am

Little Razia Sultana, very aptly named.

July 15, 2013 8:03 am

May Allah bless her. Nice work

July 15, 2013 10:22 am

Good work !! Hats off to you Razia Sultana

Javid Shirazi
July 15, 2013 12:56 pm

Congratulations. Only thru education can they uplift their lives. This trend must continue and gain momentum. The alternate is wretchedness and destitution.

July 15, 2013 1:03 pm

@Indian: It is a positive news. Why would any one comment negatively about it?

July 15, 2013 2:07 pm

I wonder such things happen in India . No need to say such things are rampant in Islamic society . When these people will understand the urgency of girl education ?

July 15, 2013 6:46 pm

@Indian: There are always people like 'Indian' who manage to find a way to attack Pakistan for nothing. Maybe no comment appeared because Dawn takes time to review and post them. Sometimes my comments appear 2 days later. Back to topic, brilliant job by the girl. It is really surprising to see that young girls are taking these issues head on. Many powerful men, who are paid to address these issues, turn their heads away.

Aslam Parvaiz Punaily
July 15, 2013 10:12 pm

Nice job Razia God bless you and keep it up, only education can change the world.

July 16, 2013 12:30 am

@Indian: You are real Indian, congrats. We are proud of ms sultana achievement. She is role model to the rest of us. I hope she can change the mind set of Indians like u.

July 16, 2013 12:07 pm

something like has to come from Indian like Malala from Pakistan was at UN...

July 16, 2013 12:14 pm

@Indian: Muslim or No Muslim....INDIAN....yes; India is desperately working to bring up somebody to match up Malala.....the whole world knows this India attitude. i.e. trying to be important unnecessarily. Though it was needless to mention until you insisted for a comment.

July 16, 2013 12:21 pm

@real Indians: WoW - There are around 100 million muslim females in India and I bet no one would like to go to Pakistan to escape Hindu persecution as you state.

July 16, 2013 1:53 pm

But question arises , why these are so rampant in Islamic society ?

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