Meet the Match
A Pakistani Woman with Greater Purpose
Sadia Mehwish was raised in the west central region of Pakistan, between the cities of Peshawar and Karachi in a town called Dera Ismail Khan (D.I. Khan). D.I. Khan is part of the Khyber Pakhtunkwa province (KPK) and is considered by U.S. authorities to be “one of the most volatile and dangerous areas of Pakistan, where women’s rights are especially limited.” In this semi-tribal region, educating women is discouraged and recreational sports for females are almost non-existent. In fact, there was a time in 2008 when Sadia was the only female she knew participating in sports in the entire region.
Despite the dangers, Sadia has committed her life to creating athletic opportunities for women and girls in her province. With the support of her family, Sadia attended university and in 2009, she completed her Master’s Degree in Health and Physical Education.
“In our community, it’s seen as such an awful thing for a female to go to school or college. My parents faced many challenges when I was a child. When I went to university, it was very hard on them. Even members of my own family were not supportive. But my parents, they believed in me. And I learned that in life you have to face the challenges. You have to do something positive for your family and your community. I want to make my parents and all of society feel proud.”
Since earning her Master’s Degree, Sadia has worked her way up to the position of Director of Physical Education at Frontier Education Foundation (FEF) Degree College for Girls. As a senior lecturer and director at the college, Sadia is responsible for preparing her students to become sports teachers, coaches, officials, players, and administrators. She coaches and trains athletes and organizes sports competitions within her college and beyond.
Through this program, Sadia is looking to learn all she can in the areas of sports education and administration. Her position at FEF affords her a unique platform to promote change for future generations of women in KPK. Nevertheless, she faces many obstacles, namely a dearth of resources, such as access to academic articles, as well as a lack of female role models. Sadia feels a great responsibility to take back all she can for the people of her country.
“I want to be the eyes for all those who cannot see the things I will see. I want to be the role model that people deserve. I want to convince them and motivate them to take initiative and be confident. In my country, people are scared. They are defeated. If I can take these steps, we can learn to move without hesitation or reservation. My movement can give hope to others and cause them to be brave. It will show them what is possible.”