Srinagar: In Kashmir, education has been majorly impacted by lockdowns and curfews. Of late, the COVID-19 pandemic has left students behind doors in the Indian-administered region like the rest of the world. Some are anxiously waiting for the re-opening of schools despite attending classes online but due to the slow-speed internet, it is dampening their mood.
However, a passionate student has come up with some good news for the entire valley. The proud girl, Sahreen Shamim, has become only the second Kashmiri who has been selected by the world’s prestigious institution – Oxford University in the UK - for an academic year at the Blavatnik School of Government.
29-year-old Shamim, who was brought up in Srinagar’s Natipora, gave up in her engineering degree midway in Malaysia following her first-semester examination to live her dream by opting for the Master’s in Public Policy.
Following her basic education from Srinagar, she moved out of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to complete her education andworked as a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) professional at a Canadian multi-national company established in Noida.
“I dedicate this achievement to my Kashmir. And, I hope to live up to expectations. I decided an engineering degree was not for me, and that I was made for something else. I am happy with my decision,” Shamim told Gulf News.
Moreover, she was fully aware of societal pressures which somewhat left her parents worried at times. “I am happy that she proved us wrong. Indeed, it’s a great moment for all us. We’re grateful to Allah for her success. And, credit solely goes to her for this landmark,” her father Shamim Aijaz said.
“She had struggled a lot. I am over the moon, with the way she has inspired many by this feat. I wish her good luck in all her endeavours,” added her delighted mother Fareeda Shamim.
Her determination had brought glory to the conflict-ridden valley. “It was a dream come true for someone like me who don’t have any family member or even a bloodline going to oxford – a Russell University or an Ivy League (university) when I learnt of this course for Master of public policy at the University of Oxford,” she added. “I was extremely intimidated by the fact that it would attract a lot of talent who’re mostly bureaucrats, ministers or even consultants in the ministry. But that is not at all. I applied for this course with full enthusiasm.”
Shamim is determined to bring a change in Kashmir particularly when it comes to education which has been badly hit due to unavoidable circumstances.She won the CSR Award and earned a reputation at the IT company following a significant role to enroll more than 11,000 underprivileged kids from Delhi-NCR. The students were registered in schools overseen by her company’s CSR faction.
“When I will be home, I would love to open a school in Kashmir. And, I would not hesitate to say that I would offer it free. What I had to go through that’s my personal matter, but the way Kashmir students are suffering has given us nothing but heartbreaks,” she maintained.
“ I can start by remoulding the policies in Kashmir; because I think they need a lot of work and we need custom tailor them in a way that they benefit in many ways.”
She hasdecided to dedicate her time for women in Kashmir. “To be honest, I wish to work with children and women in Kashmir to make them the torchbearers of development, progress and hope in the time to come,” she stated. Also, Shamim has requested organisations apart from individuals to come forward and help her monetarily.
“This offer will only stand out to be a letter if I am not able to secure my funding. I secured half of it and for the other half I am reaching out to organizations and individuals who can help me in this regard to fulfilling my dream,” she concluded.