Those little girls on the street! -by Dr. Shazia Nawaz

You love Pakistan when you live in Pakistan, but you love Pakistan even more when you do not live in Pakistan anymore.

You do not love those poor children on the streets of Pakistan when you live in Pakistan, but you fall in love with them when you live outside of Pakistan and see rest of the world protecting their children. Children are any society’s collective responsibility.

Those little children that you have in your houses to clean, cook, and baby sit your children, I love them. I love those children on the street who try to sell you balloons and try to clean your car at every stop. I love them all. Most of them are my daughter’s age. Most of them are eleven or twelve years old.

I visited Pakistan a few months ago. Except for the constant fear of getting third degree burns all over my body in the hands of suicide bomber, it was fun. Met two balloon girls selling balloons in front of a shoe store. They were about my daughter’ s age, eleven or twelve.

I bought a balloon from each of them and gave each a 100 ruppees and then I asked them if they would like to take a picture with me. I wanted the picture for my blog. Both of them happily agreed.

Once my friend took our picture, one of the girls yelled,” take the picture again. My eyes were closed ”

That made me laugh. She was full of life. She was bold and clever. We took the picture again.

Once we were done taking pictures, she said, ” Baji I do not have shoes for school. Would you buy me shoes from that shop?”

She knew exactly where to hit. Newly wealthy, educated auntis from america who truly love their poor Pakistani kids, do not want anything more but education for their Pakistani kids.

I took her and the other one, who was not related to her and was rather shy, to the shoe shop near by. Both of them bought fancy heel shoes worth 1000-1200 rupees each.

Right after that the clever one said, ” Baji I have a brother too and he does not have shoes for school either”

That gave the shy one some courage and she too in a very shy tone mentioned her little sister.

Long story short, I bought five pairs of shoes for each of them for their whole families, calculated in my head, costed me about $ 200 and I had to put it on my credit card.

That was money well spent. The best part of my trip to Pakistan. It is not everyday that you experience happiness of that kind, when you make someone’s day. We hugged each other and I said, ” if you want to be able buy shoes for yourself, you have to go to school and study
like I did.”

Clever one quickly mentioned that she goes to school everyday.

Later sitting in my car, it hit me, did I just teach two girls my daughter’s age to ask for things from the vulnerable for free? No, that part did not make me feel as guilty, guilt came from the thought that how it makes these two little girls vulnerable themselves.

What if it is not a nice looking aunty next time but a pedophile uncle ?

What if that uncle asked for more in return than just a picture and a hug?

Did I just teach them to ask for money and things in return of a favor? Did that clever girl already know how to do it? Has she become an expert at getting free stuff? And what does not kill them, make them only stronger?

Would not lie to you. Loved those two girls like my own daughters. My heart goes out to those beautiful children on the streets of Pakistan.

There was a recent report out that how those kids are used for prostitution. Perhaps once we got rid of terrorism, we can spend some of that money on our little kids on the street instead of on making more and more bombs.



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