Gwadar to glory, a tale of Dr Raheela Baloch

GWADAR  -  Shattering stereotypes, Dr Raheela Shay Baloch’s story is a tale of lifelong struggle, hardships and commitment, according to a report ‘Gwadar to glory’ published by T-Magazine. She was born in the home of a fisherman in Gwadar, but that didn’t stop her from dreaming for a better life. Early in her life, she had resolved to not only become fi­nancially independent, but also to take care of the family, when she grew up. Dr Baloch has set a precedent for the women of Balochistan to follow their dreams and that the sky is the limit. “My father was a fisherman who worked in Iran and our family was barely able to meet the daily needs of life,” says Dr Baloch. “When I look back, I remember how hard those times were for us as a family. We didn’t have money to even buy shoes. Words cannot express how much we have suffered.” When she was in the tenth grade, she got her first job as receptionist. “I knew that the dream of being financially independent could not be turned into reality, especially if you belong to a poor background,” she says. “After completing my intermedi­ate, I joined Isra University in Karachi and along with that I worked as an as­sistant to a gynecologist in the Ankle­saria Hospital. At the time, my salary was only Rs5000, which wasn’t enough to meet expenses, but I had no option but to stick to this job.” It was difficult to pay the semester fees. “My father paid the fee for one semester, but he clearly said that he could not afford to pay for the rest of the semesters,” she says. “I couldn’t complain because I knew that he didn’t make much as a fisherman. I also understood that if I wanted to pur­sue my education, then I had to keep my eyes open for scholarships and try my best to avail any such opportunity.” Her real struggle began in 2013 when she applied for an MBBS scholarship in China. “I was successful in achieving the scholarship,” says Dr Baloch. “But right from the beginning, it was tough, because there were financial problems. I arrived in China with no money and I was not allowed to work as per rules of my scholarship. If I did, my scholar­ship would be cancelled.” But that was not all as life kept throwing her curved balls. “My father had a heart attack af­ter I had spent two years in China,” she says, remembering how she was left with no option, but to return home to look after, and support her family. “I asked my father to stay home and en­sured him that I would take care of him and the family. Having three younger brothers was a great responsibility. So I had to skip my studies for two years. During that time I not only took care of my parents, but also worked to be able to meet the expenses for my education and my siblings’ education as well.” Dr Baloch presently works as a lecturer in a highly-ranked (top 20) university in China. She also runs a business in Dubai and Pakistan. The reason for her late graduation was her family is­sues, which she took care of as the el­dest sibling. Her business is unique in the sense that she only employs trans­genders and unfortunate women who have fought adverse circumstance in life. “I wanted to create job opportu­nities for transgenders and get them off the streets, but I realised that it is not easy to find ones who are willing to work,” she points out. Her business entails importing contact lenses from China to Pakistan and Dubai. “Pakistan and Dubai have a huge demand for contact lenses especially among wom­en,” she explains. “I have registered a trademark brand last year in Pakistan and it is working well in Pakistan and Dubai.” has more details about Dr Baloch’s brand of contact lenses. Dr Baloch disagrees with social mores of the typical pa­triarchal society that expects women to be dependent on men as only they are considered providers of the family. “I have never wanted anything from a man nor depended on a man to sup­port me,” she says. “As per the norms of our society, a man is supposed to fulfill the needs of women and family, but I have done everything for myself. By the Grace of God, I have a home and everything I need.” For Dr Baloch, her life’s biggest achievement is to be able to fulfill the needs of her family and taking care of the younger brothers. “Financial independence is liberating and empowering for women,” she says. Dr Baloch is not only a success story but her exemplary struggle and deter­mination has a message for the women of Balochistan. “You should never give up, even if the circumstances become adverse and you feel you can’t carry on anymore,” she says. “Pluck some brav­ery and courage that God has gifted ev­ery woman with and that each woman is capable of.”

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