“I think Pond’s is doing a fantastic job by celebrating women. The real unsung hero is the woman who is a homemaker. She doesn’t have a paid job but has kids and supports her husband in his career. No man can be CEO of a company if his family isn’t looked after.” For Sarah Khurho, being at home to ensure her family is looked after is of the utmost importance. Her maternal warmth radiates during the interview as she speaks about her family and how the work she does now is designed to ensure that her family doesn’t suffer. Sarah has been a math tutor for 20 years now. Last year she started a home based enterprise which supplies readymade hummus to supermarkets. When she isn’t at her office or teaching mathematics, she is taking care of her two sons.
“The Pakistan of today is very progressive. Women are encouraged to explore their passions, so I haven’t personally felt any challenges and struggle. There has only been support and appreciation.” Math tutoring, for Sarah, is fantastic and fun. She teaches children between 12 and 20 years and gives each student individual attention. The satisfaction she derives from teaching supersedes most things in life. Sarah gives them life lessons and encourages them to have their own niche in society where they are creating something. “Yes, money is a great reward, but it’s not always about that,” says Sarah.
Sarah’s hummus business is relatively new. One of the few challenges are business development and getting new stores on board. It is tough work “but being a woman it’s fantastic, because if I send my staff to negotiate it takes ages, but if I go myself then I’m done in 2 minutes flat. No challenges and struggles, just appreciation and support so it’s very positive.” Managing work with family, however, is still tough no matter how conducive the environment and sometimes Sarah finds herself wishing there were more hours in the day. She believes it’s equally important for her to think about herself and do what makes her happy. “I travel by myself and I cook to relax because I find it therapeutic. I do lots of yoga. I keep a balance and look after myself.” But it’s not an easy thing to do in Pakistan, both for men and women. “Here even if a father wants to go for an all-boys holiday, its frowned upon.”
Sarah believes financial independence is important but very difficult to attain in this patriarchal society. The older generation play a role in this since they feel they should control the younger generation. The culture, according to Sarah, is suppressive and makes it even more critical for women to achieve financial independence.
At work, Sarah enjoys teaching students who are not instinctively good at Math. Teaching them a concept and watching as a light bulb switches on in in their heads and faces light up is her miracle. “That’s an aah moment! A non-math person becoming a math person. Making a difference in anyone’s life would be my wow moment.” Life is a miracle which happens each and every day. We hope to embrace these daily miracles the same way Sarah has!