“I have been selling glasses for the last 13 years. I came to Rawalpindi from Bajaur after the death of my father at the age of 15. Three of my brothers were already selling sunglasses in the city so they introduced me into this trade.
My father was a labourer in Karachi and his death forced our family to work. I have seven sisters, five of them were married after my father’s death. I got married four years ago and have two daughters. My family lives with my mother in Bajaur.
Due to poverty, neither me nor any of my siblings got education. When I look at young educated men and women, I feel the importance the education and I have vowed to myself that I will get my daughters educated.
In my childhood, there was no school in Bajaur but now there are many, even for girls. I have also lived in Multan where I worked in the Landa Bazaar.I live with eight other people from Bajaur in a rented house at Hazara Colony, Pirwadhai. Out of the total Rs10,000 rent, I pay Rs1,500 every month. I purchase sunglasses from Raja Bazaar and manage to make Rs500 a day by selling them. I have to arrange dowry for my two young sisters and try to earn as much as I could. But working as a vendor is not an easy job. The local administration and police create problems for us and sometimes they confiscate our stalls.
My brothers and I have a dream of opening our own shop so that we would not have to roam around. But selling these local sunglasses is not a profitable work as mostly poor families, who cannot afford branded ones, buy them.”
Published in Dawn, January 11th, 2020