This story is of resilience, patience, entrepreneurial spirit and hard work in the face of betrayal and heartbreak. This is about the daughter of a renowned Pakistani film-maker MA Rasheed – Rafia Rasheed; who is forced to run a roadside food stall to support herself, her only daughter and grandson.
From a glamorous and comfortable life of riches to a life of struggle!
Rafia at the age of 55 runs a Dhaba near Islamabad, struggling to make ends meet. What happened to the daughter of a famous director and writer, who changed the Pakistani film industry for the better? Rafia explains how beautiful her life was when her father was alive. She was the most loved among her siblings and always stayed by her father’s side. However, soon things went from bad to worse, after his death.
“Maybe this was my fate”
She recalled, saying, “Maybe this was in my fate. Or maybe it’s just a phase. But when I was a baby, my father was the king of the Pakistani film industry. The name MA Rasheed was like a golden ticket for aspiring actors. And I clearly remember the days I would visit him on film sets and the greatest producers, directors and actors Lollywood has ever seen would carry me around on their shoulders,”
“I used to be a wealthy lady. But the fact is that now, I am on the roads. I am not begging, though. I’m the daughter of a big man and prefer to sell food to earn a living, even though it is anything but easy.”
‘Money’ destroyed everything.
After the passing of MA Rasheed, Rafia’s siblings changed and soon, left her on her own devices. There have been so many cases in Pakistan, where siblings even take each other’s lives over property disputes. Her hardships were just beginning after her only daughter was diagnosed with a bi-polar disorder, life became difficult; as she started to run out of money for her diagnosis. After exhausting all her savings, she now has to run a humble stall, to keep a roof over her head and food on her table.
Rafia’s appeal to PM Imran Khan and other party leaders.
In an interview with a local news channel, she requested Imran Khan for better loan policies for people in their 50’s. In addition, she also asked to focus on mental-health treatment and facilitate all the patients who cannot afford a decent treatment and are reduced to mad-men, especially women; as their dignities come in danger since they are not in their sound minds and mindlessly walk around on roads with no one to take care of them.
Listen to her amazing life story and mission in her own words.
Rafia Rasheed; A Visionary.
She spoke about her goal in life. Speaking about a shelter and rehabilitation center for the mentally ill, she said if she ever managed to gather enough money, she would open a center where mentally-challenged women and children will be cared for.
Ending her interview, she left a message for all the women struggling to find the courage to step out in this society and earn a dignified liveliood. Pakistan has many examples of women who are forced to fend for themselves and family; one such example is that of a mother in Lahore who disguises herself as a man, running an almost-empty shop.
We hope Rafia Rasheed’s request reaches the ears of the leaders of Pakistan and they devise policies that assist the needy of this nation.
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