“I had lost all hope and was about to drop out of school when I heard of the GALS (Gender Action Learning System) training. I thought it was a chance to turn my life around so I stepped out of my village for the first time ever to attend the training”, Farhana says.
At 17, Farhana Tuniuo is a GALS trainer in village Sajan Hakro in Sindh. From an early age, she witnessed the struggles of other girls in her community, who gradually dropped out of school and were subjected to forced early marriages by their families. With her father consistently supporting her ambitions, Farhana became determined to help less privileged girls by teaching them basic literacy skills, the only avenue she knew to empower them through. However, with financial problems of her own, Farhana’s own schooling remained precarious.
In 2017, Oxfam’s partner Indus Resource Centre (IRC) arranged a 3-day GALS training in Larkana city, reaching out to youth from rural communities to educate them on a range of topics including sexual and reproductive health rights and the importance of education, especially for girls. The participants also learnt to create ‘vision journeys’, mapping their dreams while taking into account their social and financial circumstances, and all the obstacles they would have to overcome to make their dreams a reality. Farhana says that the knowledge she acquired during the training on women’s rights in health, education and employment opened a world of ideas for her; she returned to her village, opened a learning center in her home with her father’s support and trained 20 other girls in her first batch.