INSIGHTS FROM FORMANITES - IRAL MOHSIN YAQOOB
I was born and raised in a small village called Darkabad in the district of Muzaffargarh. From the very beginning, my life had been tough. We were raised in an unstable financial environment. My father was the only one in the family who was earning. He is an agricultural fieldworker, and, as you can imagine they don’t earn heavy sums.
Due to meager earnings and inconsistent pay packages, it was extremely hard for my father to keep us all fed, clothed, and under a room all on his own, let alone afford anything besides the basic needs. So, in those conditions it’s not hard to imagine that education and basic schooling is a luxury. My elder brother at a very young age started working beside my father to help with the finances. However, we were less fortunate, as in agriculture a farmer’s helper is not paid anything remotely near to their efforts. As a child I always wanted to change my family’s condition and the only way that it resonated right was through education.
So, I joined a small school near our village. I still remember I woke up at 4 am every day, completed all my daily chores and then walked 6 miles every day to my school. I was very motivated and determined to educate myself. When I reached high school, I started to ponder on the idea of getting a university degree, but it was a completely alien concept for me as no one in my family had gone to a university before. I talked with my parents about this, but my father, who wanted to support me in every way, wasn’t able to help a lot. The fee structure of the universities seemed to point to one conclusion, to give up the fantasy called “university.” Everyone laughed at my optimism. They thought that it was utterly insane; a poor village boy has nothing to do with university education.
Secretly I never gave up on the idea, I studied really hard to get a scholarship in college, and I never stopped praying. Because I was sincere and honest with my affairs, I had clarity in my decision.
Growing up I wasn’t raised in a single religious environment, and there were good days and there were bad. Things are always tough when you’re in a minority but that’s what gives rise to unity and the strength we find in each other. In a gathering at our local church, I got to meet an aspiring young political science major, who asked about me, my goals, etc. Hearing my story, he wanted me to apply to a place he used to call “home”, a college in the city of Lahore, “Forman Christian College." Upon getting further information about this institute, I was thrilled to my core, this was definitely a place I wanted to belong. I was super excited, but the fee structure came crashing down on my dreams yet again. My HSSC exams score fell short of a government scholarship and combined with my limited financial situation I was left hurt, depressed, and really devastated.
My mum motivated me to take the test and if I was meant to be there, the Lord will open the doors for me. Fast forward, I took the test, and there upon further guidance I learned about the financial assistance program provided at FCCU. I felt like all my hard work, patience, and prayers have been answered, I felt like I was given a new life. I immediately applied for the aid and called my mum to let her know about this development in my favor. Upon hearing the news, my mum was beyond happy. I still remember her partly crying on the phone & saying, “Don’t ever let anyone tell you can’t do this, I’m proud of you and make sure that the people who are helping you financially (donors), you make them proud too!”
This was how I started my journey at FCCU, and my motivation wasn’t simply to change my family’s condition, but it is also to make the people who had granted me this opportunity proud.
My years here have taught me so much that it seems impossible to comprehend. I have learned to be respectful of everyone, no matter who they are. I have learned to never judge someone. I have learned how to respect and love everyone’s uniqueness and most importantly I have learned to be part of something greater than myself—a family.
Here at FCCU I’ve felt that your religion, your caste, your creed, your race, your career doesn’t define you. To me, this was a concept so foreign that it felt almost utopic experiencing it. This university has transformed me into a person that is not only someone I always wanted to be, but someone who everyone should try to be - respectful, appreciative, determined and always a reason for others to smile.
Growing up I always wanted to be someone who could just help others in every way possible, to take people’s pain away, to put smiles on faces and to give hope. After receiving this generosity through financial aid, for the first time in life I experienced hope, love, and care. For the first time I felt that, yes, there is someone who is watching out for those who no one else is.
I can never express my thankfulness to these amazing real-life heroes, these unsung heroes who make these altruistic contributions not for the sake of anything but giving back to the society in the spirit of humanity above everything. To all the FCCU donors, you’re the reason why countless dreams are a reality, you are to us what no one else is, and you are who gave us a life we only could dream of. Thank you for caring and inspiring.
I love the word “selah” which means to pause, to look around, to think and reflect. Your support will always make me think of this word in every part of life, to assess whether or not am I to someone, exactly what you have been to me. The day I could say yes, will be the day I would consider myself successful.
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