Our Stories of Change

  • Building civic engagement in marginalized communities

    Uzaira Tasneem is completing her bachelor’s degree from the University of Education, Lahore. True to her name, when she heard about the UN Volunteers programme, she decided to apply. “I always aspired to become a volunteer because it would get me closer to the community and the people,” she says.

  • Expanding horizons through volunteering

    It was always Tahir’s dream to be a social worker and to serve humanity. The son of a manual labourer and the youngest of five children, he had the opportunity to gain an education and is now completing a master’s degree in education management in his hometown of Lahore, Pakistan. When the opportunity to become a UN Volunteer and provide civic and voter education to youth and marginalized communities, especially women, came up, Tahir seized it. As one of 36 UN Volunteers in Pakistan, however, he has found that his horizons and passions have expanded more than he could have realized.

  • Building responsible citizenship

    Forty-two young people file into a classroom at the University of Management and Technology in Lahore, Pakistan. The two young women standing before them are only a few years older but, as the session begins, the group listens respectfully and with increasing interest. As the young women conclude their presentation, the questions comes quick and fast.

  • Young volunteers spark civic engagement

    Before Anita Ilyas, a United Nations Volunteer in Lahore, Pakistan, began conducting a quiz, she expected that few of the participating students would have been motivated to read through the readings on civic engagement that she and her fellow volunteer had provided. She was in for a surprise. As the questions came, every student gave correct answers. By the end of the quiz it was a five-way tie. “We were all so surprised to see that our future generation was so well informed and have enough knowledge about their country and the systems of the country,” says Anita.

  • Passion for change

    Amna was born in Lahore, Pakistan, where she studied education. Today, she is completing a postgraduate MPhil degree in Education, and has also taught for several years. When she heard about the UN Volunteers programme, she immediately applied. “It was a good opportunity for me to do something for the betterment of society,” she says.

  • Women lawyers take the lead in Swat

    Ever since she was a child, Samreen Hakeem’s ambition had been to become a lawyer. Growing up in Swat district of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, she observed how the women around her needed to be made aware of their basic rights. Yet, with virtually no trained female lawyers – and few educated women generally – accessing legal advice, and then acting on it, was a distant dream in this highly segregated society.

  • Fighting inequality

    “If you are determined to achieve something, success is destined however big the challenge may be.” says Safia, Lady Constable with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Police from Charsadda who has been deployed in Swat, an area that was severely affected by military conflict. The past few decades of conflict had adverse consequences because of insecurity

  • Nazra’s sewing business in village Pak Ismail Khel, Bannu

    Patriarchal family systems are normal in conservative areas like Bannu and women’s mobility is restricted to the domestic space. While a complete transition is difficult and time-consuming, culturally sensitive development interventions can play a key role in creating spaces for young women to emerge as sources of economic support for their families, consequently expanding their roles beyond the domestic sphere. Nazra, a 28-year old resident of village Pak Ismail Khel in Bannu presents an example.

  • Amelia Rubin’s Journey

    Amelia is a certified volunteer community-based paralegal associated with the Community Development Programme (CDP) in Bannu, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and a bachelor’s student at the Kohat University of Science and Technology.