Her orthodox father wouldn’t let her go out of home — even to school. She defied him, joined an education-cum-vocational centre in her village and her impressed teachers prevailed upon her father to let her go out of village to complete another course.
Today, a history honours student, Asma Parween is also a karate trainer whose success story will feature on this year’s United Nations Population Fund calendar. A native of an obscure village, Sakri Saraiya in Bihar’s Muzaffarpur district, this 19-year-old blue belt holder has travelled to different parts of Bihar to train girls at camps organized by the government. She is also a member of Muzaffarpur’s district resource group which mobilizes children at block levels for admission to Navodaya Vidyalayas. Her achievements have led to a perceptible change in her family’s outlook. “We’re proud of her,” her elder brother Shakeel Ahmed said. In between these engagements which “besides giving satisfaction to me, also fetches money for my family”, Asma continued to take karate lessons and is now set to get brown belt. Asma’s journey to success began in mid-1990s when an NGO, Mahila Samakhya Kendra, set up the educational-cum-vocational centre for illiterate girls in her village. “Don’t dare go out of home,” her father Mohammad Yusuf, a petty utensil seller, fumed when Asma sought permission to join the centre. The gritty girl, however, stealthily completed the two-year course.