Sumaiya’s parents wanted to withdraw her from Christel House when she was in the 8th grade. As conservative Muslims, they felt further study was unnecessary, and that she should marry and follow the expectations of her family. But Sumaiya had her own hopes and dreams. With help from the Christel House social worker, she convinced her parents to allow her to remain in school. She was determined to study and work, in spite of opposition from relatives. “My grit, determination, interest and commitment towards my studies made my parents realize how important it was to me,” she says.
Respect and admiration for her Christel House teachers led Sumaiya to choose teaching as a career path. She wanted to pass along the gift of knowledge to others. The teaching profession is respected within her community, and enabled Sumaiya to balance religious and family expectations with a career she knows will truly make her happy. She writes, “I am following a traditional pathway, but never letting tradition become a barrier to fulfilling my dream.”
Today, Sumaiya works at St. Paul’s School in Bangalore, and continues to pursue her teaching credentials. “In my community, everyone was against me and my family relating to my decision to study further,” she writes. “My relatives advised my family to stop my studies. They thought a girl should get married and serve her in-laws by being at home. But now that I have persevered, they are proud, and all my cousins have joined colleges and are pursuing their studies.”
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