June 13, 2020

Missing puzzle pieces

How structures of patriarchy and notions of motherhood shaped my social change work.

2 min read

One of my first childhood memories is of a never-ending sea of small yellow rooms, sprawling across a desert with not a single tree. Many people wore the same kind of clothes. I saw men, women, children all working to reconstruct their lives. It was 1949 and what I was seeing was a settlement for the refugees pouring into Pakistan, newly divided from India two years prior. My parents were among the millions who migrated to Pakistan. This would be my community for the first 12 years of my life. This place shaped my core character of survival, a place where at least ten times a day I heard this plea: “you have to make it.”

I was the eldest of my four siblings, a natural comrade to my young, energetic, hardworking parents. They had extraordinarily high ethical standards and expected the same of me in all my responsibilities.

This is an excerpt from the article Missing Puzzle Pieces: How Structures of Patriarchy and Notions of Motherhood Shaped My Social Change Work by Quratul Ain Bakhteari. 

This article is a part of a special series on the connection between inner well-being and social change, in partnership with The Wellbeing ProjectStanford Social Innovation ReviewSchwab Foundation at the World Economic Forum, and Skoll Foundation.

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Skoll Foundation

The Skoll Foundation is dedicated to expanding the impact of successful social innovations by empowering the social entrepreneurs behind them. The Foundation works across six issue areas: economic opportunity, education, environmental sustainability, health, peace and human rights, and sustainable markets. Each year, they present select social entrepreneurs with the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship—a USD 1.25 million three-year investment in their organisations, to help them scale and deepen their impact.