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Interview with Summiya

Pakistan, November 25, 2018: Interview with Summiya, design winner of the Marshall Direct Fund and Waypoint Goods collaborative travel scarf. Waypoint is donating 100% of the profits from the sales of the Summiya Scarf to support youth education and women's economic empowerment in Pakistan. 

An Interview with the Artist: Summiya, Age 15

Tell us a little about yourself:

I belong to a very conservative family from Bajaur Agency. My father moved to our town after the army operation in our area. Later on many family members came to settle here. I have two sisters and one brother older to me and three sisters and one brother younger to me.

We are not allowed to go to the market or visit our relatives in the neighborhood. In fact, the only place that we can go to, is our school. But we never get permission to school trips. I love reading stories.  I don’t like cooking or helping with household chores.

What inspired you to create your design?

I wanted to create something different. I also wanted to win the competition so I put my heart into creating the design. Since blue is my favorite color, I used it as the base color and white for my design.

What is an accomplishment you are most proud of?

I am proud of the fact that my design was selected for the scarf and that it has my name too. Another time that I was really proud was when I got second position in Grade 6.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your life?

The fact that I belong to a family where educating a girl child is not considered important is a big challenge. None of my cousins are in school. They stay at home, help with housework and look after their siblings.

The day I learned I won the scarf competition my father told me he would not allow me and my sister to continue the next year because there are boys in the class. The teachers at my school are working hard on a solution with my family so I can stay in school.

What do you hope for the girls who are at school with you in their futures?

I hope that they get the opportunity to complete their education and fulfill their potential. They can then help their families and their communities.

What are your hopes and dreams for your future?

I want to complete my education and do my Masters. I would then want to teach and reach out to girls who do not have access to education.

Describe the Pakistani culture to someone who might not know about it:

Pakhtun culture is different than the average Pakistani culture. We belong to very conservative and strict culture. Women are confined within the walls of their houses. Pakistani culture is a blend of both conservative and progressive practices. We have four provinces and numerous ethnic groups.

We have both folk and traditional music as well as modern music.

We celebrate two Eids, Independence day and other religious and traditional festivals.

What Summiya's teachers say: She has so much confidence ever since she was declared the winner!