Married off at 12, Sughra became the first woman in her village to get divorced. She was 18 then, and a social outcast. Sughra Solangi overcame significant difficult situations to become an exceptional example of what an oppressed woman can achieve through sheer determination and strength.
Severely beaten by her brother when she tried to attend school, Sughra pursued her studies at home.
Soon, she became her village’s first female high school graduate and the first teacher at the first school for girls. This is when she realised that people were not sending their daughters to school for two reasons – social customs and lack of funds.
In 1992, floods devastated the agriculture-dominated economy of her village – Sonlangi.
Sughra Solangi along with other village women took the initiative of helping out the flood affected communities out of trauma and loss of properties and formed a women’s saving group. They collected Rs. 10 per household from 50 houses and gave to a family to open a small grocery shop in the village. This event marked the beginning of the Marvi Rural Development Organization, an initiative to support literacy, health and well-being, development of community organisations, income generation and ending violence against women.
She has had significant success in developing her village Solangi, Khairpur District, and developing new villages every year in Sindh region of Pakistan. She became an Ashoka Fellow in 1999, and for her achievements she received the International Women of Courage Award in 2011.
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