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Facing odds to keep the stove burning 

06 September 2010 11:01:51

Facing odds to keep the stove burning

Yasir Ilyas

RAWALPINDI, September 6, 2010: She is hardly 18, but her determination and her spirit of sacrifice are phenomenal. She knows well that she is the only ray of hope for her family and have to work really hard to feed her siblings, her mother and her drug-addict father.

Riffat Bibi still has some signs of childhood on her face. She lives in Bangash Colony, Rawalpindi. She owns a stall of vegetables in the ‘Sasta Bazaar’ outside the Shamsabad Public Park.

She sits at her stall from dawn to dusk. This stall was originally allotted to Nasreen Bibi, her mother, on the 1st of Ramazan. But, as Nasreen gave birth to a baby girl a few days ago, so she is unable to manage the stall. In her absence, Riffat Bibi took over the charge of the stall as her family, comprising two younger brothers and a sister, her mother and her drug-addict father, has no other means of income. They rely on the stall and the income generated by Nasreen Bibi through selling vegetables in different weekly bazaars.

“I have two younger brothers, aged seven and five. My father does not work and my mother sells vegetables in weekly bazaars, which is the only source of income for us,” Riffat said.

Her two brothers are too young, so when her mother had to leave the stall for child delivery, it was Riffat who had to come forward to take charge of the stall.

Talking to this news agency, Riffat said: “When my mother used to run the stall, I used to stay at home to look after my younger brothers and father.” She said that though her mother could not manage to educate her and her brothers due to her meagre income, “but she never allowed us to work in the houses of other people.”

Young Riffat has a dream to educate her siblings. She said that she would insist her mother that she would now work with her so that her younger brothers and sister could go to school. She is committed to save her siblings from the humiliation she suffered in her life.

She has to face numerous problems while working in ‘Sasta Bazaar’. People stare at her and some try to pressurise her, but no one can beat her determination. She is ready to face all sorts of circumstances to keep the stove of her house burning.