“We were always very sheltered. But we, for the first time, had to come out of the shadow when my mother passed away. There were so many people, so many lives intertwined with her school. Everybody was looking up to me, expecting things from me,” says Faiza Kasim,Director, Karachi High School. Faiza’s mother started Karachi High School back in 1985 and her school was her baby, as important as her four other children. That is where she imparted quality education to middle class children. Faiza and her sisters too, were always very closely connected with the school which is a non-profit organization and where the students are charged very nominal fees. After her mother passed away in 2012, Faiza decided to continue her mother’s legacy and started running the school with the help of the teachers, coordinators and friends.
Now, all of Faiza’s days are dedicated to the school. “I am doing all those things I used to tell my mother not to do,” she laughs, “and I am doing them with the same passion, if not more.” Looking back, she wishes how, instead of arguing, she had supported her mother when she used to go beyond measures to do something for the school. She attributes her success to her mother. “I don’t even know when I got prepared to take over such a big responsibility. I think she just let me be till she was there but when she wasn’t, that responsibility was on me and I had to stand up and take it on.”
Faiza believes everybody, man or woman, should be financially independent. She advises young girls to fight for their rights and hold their ground. Our society really is in same light as before, a man’s money is a woman’s money and the woman’s money also remains to be her money! However, when a woman has a career, she has double the responsibility. “Women are home makers so even when they come back from work, they’re supposed to keep a balance with home chores as well.”
Faiza is an artist, yet her last show was back in 2007 in New York. When her mother passed away, she had to let her art go. It’s been four years since she let art take the backseat but now she feels it’s time to revive the artist in her and give time to her artwork too. It’s something she’s passionate about but more often than not, she barely gets time for herself. “I deal with a lot of lives. Starting from the guard, the carpenter, parents, students – it had been a long time since I’ve associated myself with the school. Now every day is the same.” Regardless, Faiza is content and joyous. She asked the people in school about how they would describe her. “They say I’m reliable, somebody you can count on 24 hours. Even for the children in school and the parents. Literally if I get a call at 2 am I will be there for them.”
“Every moment in my life has been a miracle moment, every moment I live is a miracle moment. Every day I find something or the other, intertwined with other lives and my life.” Faiza is almost poetic as she marvels at her journey, with each day filled with moments to celebrate. Faiza Kasim is a woman who sets a high benchmark for selflessness, and shows us precisely how to achieve it.