Naz moved to Tasmania with her husband and three children in February 2020. She came to study a PHD at UTAS, focusing on the issues of gender.
Naz has a passion for education, particularly for women. Being a successful academic and principal in a public girls’ high school in a rural area of Pakistan, she worked hard to open doors of education to all people in the rural area that she worked for. She introduced free language classes and organised activities to motivate the women in the area to gain an education. Her untiring efforts resulted in tremendous increase in the institute’s enrolment along with the overall excellent academic performance of the students.
However, not everyone was happy with the positive changes that Naz was making in her community. To demoralize her, some local journalists, backed by certain ‘higher-ups’, started a media campaign against her by publishing false stories about her. Naz’s family members were also victimized to put pressure on her to give up.
It was then, that she began writing letters to people in power to let them know what was happening to her and her family. In response to one of her letters, the Deputy Commissioner of the area called for an inquiry and in its findings found that Naz was being harassed by media persons on personal grudges. On the orders of the Deputy Commissioner, four government departments acted against those media persons and the license of their newspapers was cancelled. The people of the area came forward in support of Naz. It was a moral victory, and it encouraged Naz to further pursue her studies in issues of gender at the University of Tasmania.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit Tasmania just after Naz had begun her studies. Naz and her husband were no longer able to transfer money from their bank accounts in Pakistan. They were not eligible for support from the government, and with a high rent to pay, Naz and her husband struggled to put food on the table. They sometimes went hungry so their three children could eat. She had heard about Hobart City Mission but was initially hesitant to ask for help. She was worried that people would have a negative attitude towards her and her family because they were new to Tasmania.
However, upon encouragement from HCM support workers, and with only $12 in her account, Naz decided to make an Emergency Relief appointment to receive help.
“I burst into tears when I got in the car after the appointment”, says Naz.
“I so badly wanted to stay in Tasmania. I wanted to show all of the people who supported me back in Pakistan that a woman can be successful and achieve a PHD. I hope that through my study I can reach the policy makers in Pakistan and change the gender roles that are enforced as young children.”
Naz penned a beautiful letter to the Emergency Relief Support Workers at Hobart City Mission, to thank them for their support and help through the COVID-19 pandemic.
She was kind enough to share it with us here:
When will this all be over! by Naz
I’ll think of this period of social isolation in future sitting somewhere in any corner of the world. I’ll think of the hard times the world went through. I’ll definitely never be able to forget what people like me who were in foreign lands went through during this pandemic. I came to realize what ‘pain’ means. Amid all these disturbing thoughts I’ll remember the kind gestures and spirit of love, respect, understanding and cooperation that our Tassie family exhibited which undoubtedly is a breeze of freshness and a legacy to be continued and feel proud of.
When I’ll think of this wonderful Tassie family, I’ll remember City Mission and the way it helped us all in hardest of times! The acts of kindness by City Mission and their wonderful team of awesome people is simply amazing and beyond the description of words. These lines are a humble attempt on my part to express my feelings of gratitude.
A helping hand from the unknown
A shelter from the strangers
A hug from the ones I have never met before
And probably will never again
Free clothes to beat the wintery vibes
Blankets to fight the sheer cold
Food to feed
Milk to drink
Bread to eat
Vouchers to buy
Beds to sleep
love to share
Warm gestures of care
In the name of Mission!!
Mission to serve, mission to care, mission to share
Mission to feel, mission to kneel before the orders of their Lord!
Mission to be human, mission to be humane
Mission to abort hatred, mission to spread the word of love
Mission to be ‘Mission’
This story was first published in our 2020 Annual Report. To view the full Annual Report, click here.
The University of Tasmania and Tasmanian Institute of Law Enforcement Studies (TILES) “Evaluation of Safe Spaces” final report has been