Empowering Dreams

Profiles of 6 students at St Elizabeth Midwifery Training School Hyderabad, Pakistan

6 students

Second Row: Leeza Sabir, Sr. Seraphine Celestine, Sr. Kiran Sagar. Front Row: Kiran Anwar, Seniha Daniel, Alisha Irshad. Photos: Fr Robert McCulloch

St. Elizabeth School of Midwifery in Hyderabad, Pakistan, trains young women from less developed areas and from marginalized communities to advance their socioeconomic position by enabling them to become trained professionals and qualified midwives for mother, neonatal, and infant care in Pakistan.

Columban Fr Robert McCulloch is the Board Chairman of St Elizabeth Hospital Hyderabad. The School of Midwifery is linked to the work of the hospital through the maternity department and the Outreach Programme, which provides the context for hands-on training of the student midwives. 

Below are the profiles of six current students.

Meena is 19 years old belongs to the Katchi Koli tribal community which is one of the original groups of Dravidian inhabitants of the Indian sub-continent before the Aryan Hindu invasion. The Katchi Koli people are mainly Hindu and are marginalized and discriminated against.

Meena and her family are Christians. Her father is a worker on a daily wage in a small shop.

Meena is the eldest child and has 2 brothers and 2 sisters. She was helped by Catholic Sisters to attend St Mary’s Presentation High School at Tando Allahyar about 100kms from Hyderabad and then successfully completed her post-high school college in Science [Intermediate Science] with the help of the Sisters.

Meena heard about SEMTS from her aunt who was the first Katchi Koli woman to complete the midwifery course at SEMTS in 2017 and who now works as a fully-qualified midwife in the Government Hospital at Mirpurkhas close to Tand Allahyar.

Meena joined SEMTS in October 2023. She is a bright cheerful young woman.

Hanna comes from Badhomali, a village near Narowal in rural Punjab north of Lahore.

Hanna is 19 years old and has 3 sisters and 2 brothers, all of whom are older than Hannah except for one brother. Her father supports the family by selling vegetables from a barrow in the bazaar at Badhomali.

After high school, she completed her post-high school college in Science [Intermediate Science] at Narowal Government College.

Her cousin is from Hyderabad where she works in a government hospital. She encouraged Hanna to come to SEMTS to do midwifery.

Hanna has travelled 1,300 km to come in October 2023 from her home to SEMTS in Hyderabad. She has settled in well and is a keen and interested student.

Kiran is from Hala Naka, a small village that is gradually being caught into the urban spread and growth of Hyderabad. She was married in 2023 and her husband is a construction labourer.

Kiran is 24 years old and both her parents are alive. Her parents managed to pay for her to complete her post-high school college in Science [Intermediate Science] at Mirpurkhas Government Girls College.

After her marriage, Kiran and her husband Anwar discussed how they could get a better future for themselves. They talked with their Catholic lay-catechist Shaukat Gill and he suggested that Kiran should come to do midwifery at SEMTS.

This is a case of a young Christian couple being offered nothing by the wider society but ready to think and plan together for their future.

Leeza is from Issa Nagri, a slum Christian settlement in Hyderabad. She came to SEMTS in October 2023 because her relative, Staff Nurse Mariam Samuel, works at St Elizabeth Hospital and encouraged her to become a midwife.

Leeza is 19 years old and has completed her post-high school college in Science [Intermediate Science] at Government College Hyderabad. She has 1 sister and 1 brother. Her father refused to become a street sweeper in Hyderabad. He was unable to get any other permanent work to support his family so he returned in 2022 to work as a tenant farmer in the Punjab.

Leeza is at SEMTS “against the odds”. Her family struggles to survive. She knows that she has a brighter future ahead of her because of SEMTS.

Seniha and Leeza Sabir are first cousins and come from the same socially deprived background in Issa Nagri, Hyderabad.

These two girls went to school and college together. Seniha completed her post-high school college in Science [Intermediate Science] at Government College Hyderabad at the same time as Leeza Sabir. They were companions in deprivation and partners in being successful in higher education.

Seniha is 19 years old. Her mother has died and she has 1 older sister. Her father is a street sweeper employed by the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and it cannot be more socially degrading than that. Seniha came to SEMTs with her cousin Leeza Sabir after being encouraged by her relative, Staff Nurse Mariam Samuel.

Seniha knows that SEMTS is not just a place of study and professional development for young Pakistani Christian women. The SEMTS residential hostel is a home for them all as Christians where family backgrounds don’t count.

Alisha is 19 years old and comes from Petaro, a very interesting historical village 25 kms from Hyderabad.

Both her parents are alive. She has 3 younger sisters and 1 younger brother so her parents in spite of poverty have made a choice for a better future through Alisha at SEMTS.

Her father is a menial servant in the home of a powerful landowning politician. It is dead-end employment for him but the family sees the break-out beginning for them through Alisha being at SEMTS.

Through the struggles of her family, Alisha completed her post-high school college in Science [Intermediate Science] at Zubaida College Hyderabad.

Her cousin, Elishba, also from Petaro, is a 2nd year student at SEMTS. The bonds between these two young Christian women and the way they encourage one another for the future is inspiring.

Columban Fr Robert McCulloch

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