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A fresh start

Rozina, is a young woman who lives in Thatta. As far as she can remember her parents always struggled to make ends meet for themselves and their thirteen children: seven sons and six daughters. Looking to lessen the burden of poverty Rozina’s parents forced her to leave school at an early age and married her off when she was only 12.

 “My husband was a waiter at a hotel from which provided meals for us three days a week. We usually went hungry other days,” Rozina told us. Rozina started picking cotton in a field for a partly Rs. 30 per day – money that she handed over to her husband.

Rozina (left), attends a class at the adolescent friendly centre

Soon she found herself with child, but because of limited access to proper nutrition and physical work, her and her unborn child’s health suffered. Born premature and suffering from malnutrition her baby died soon after birth. Rozina also developed a cyst in her uterus.

Rozina’s troubles did not end here: one day, on his way to the city, her husband was murdered by robbers. After his death Rozina’s in-laws forced her to move back with her parents.

When Plan International Pakistan started implementing the Reproductive Health Information to Adolescents project in Rozina’s community, adolescent friendly centres were set up to provide adolescent girls and boys with information about sexual and reproductive health and promote healthy, recreational activities.

Rozina was convinced to attend counselling sessions at a nearby centre by partner staff. At the centre she also mixed with other young people and learnt about their struggles, and later got a job as a caregiver at an ECCD centre. Says Rozina: “I felt that this was a turning point in my life. For the first time in my life I felt a sense of independence.”

Now Rozina works with children at the ECCD centre in the morning and visits the adolescent friendly centre afterwards. Her evenings are spent studying, to pick up where she left off.