Aren’t we all that frog in the well which, because doesn’t have any exposure, believes there doesn’t exist any world outside. While talking about technology and entrepreneurship, the focus remains on the urban cities of Pakistan. Why are cities other than Lahore, Islamabad & Karachi always ignored and side-tracked? Today, I am in conversation with some techie girls from Quetta. These girls are currently enrolled in Microsoft Innovation Center’s 6 month-long internship program at Lahore. There is no doubt about their ambitions as they have traveled from Quetta to Lahore just for the sake of an internship.
Maryam & Marzia both are in their final year of computer sciences and studying at Bahadur Khan University. The same university which was bombed by terrorists and the reason was straightforward that girls should not be sent to schools. These resilient girls lost their friends in the unjust attack yet firmly decided to continue their education and persue their dreams.
Today sitting at Microsoft Innovation Center, both of them believe that coming to Lahore was one of the best decision they have taken in their professional lives. The kind of knowledge, training and hands on experience they have gained so far is incomparable to the three years they have spent in Quetta. Both, as soon as they go back, want to impart the learning to their classmates who couldn’t join the training program because of limited seats at MIC Lahore .
When I asked how many students opt for computer sciences, software engineering and other technological courses, they told that the ratio is very low because computer related jobs are close to none in Quetta. Majority of computer sciences graduates are left with options of either being a clerk or a typist and if not that, then the last hope is teaching. These girls want real jobs for themselves and their fellow students.
While conversing, Maryam expressed how Quetta is rich in cultural arts and she wants to sell handicrafts online to help the craftsmen earn a living, while Marzia wants to pay back by starting an online NGO for Hazara community. Both of them aren’t aware of all the entrepreneurial initiatives in any city of the country and how would they know? We have conveniently ignored everyone who is outside the circle of bigger cities in Pakistan.
I am a strong believer that innovation can’t be restricted by geographical boundaries and these students deserve equal rights to resources as everyone else. Everything is easily accessible to everyone in urban cities but there is a need of conducting training related to freelancing, entrepreneurship, mobile or web application development in smaller cities as well.
If we want to progress as a nation we need to include smaller cities in our convoy too!
Image credits: theeducationwatchpakistan