Baby Baagrri turning things around, but ...
Byline: M. Shahjahan Memon-Kamber Ali Khan
BABY Baagrri, a social worker of Sindh, is working for the uplift of her community in Kamber city which is otherwise a socially excluded and institutionally neglected area. The Baagrri community is discriminated against by a majority of people for being a low Hindu caste. As such, members of the community remain deprived of opportunities and that leaves them with limited options of earning a respectable living.
As public and private schools are not welcoming towards the Baagrri community due to class differences and ethnicity, Baby Baagrri - commonly known locally as just 'Baby' - realised the need for opening a school to empower her community through education and skills and help it come out of poverty and ignorance.
Baby runs a primary and middle school as well as a vocational training centre for six years now, and her role as a woman in a patriarchal society is something admirable. Of course, she has been doing this with the locals' support - both financial and otherwise. But in recent months, things have changed to the extent that Baby has announced to close her school and vocational training centre in the face of mounting pressure from regressive elements and persistent complaints of harassment by her girl students.
This is a painful reminder of how vulnerable girls and women in society still are. Although such incidents are not limited to any particular segment of society, in this case a marginalised community is being marginalised even further. The state should strive for equal opportunities for everyone, everywhere regardless of any distinction or discrimination.
Individuals like Baby Baagrri come to the rescue of their communities, but then they have to pay a price for having taken such initiatives. If the two institutions mentioned above do close down, will it be Baby's loss or that of society at large?