Meet VALLEY’s Spring 2019 Campus Culture Section Opener: Shumaila Fatima

Photo by Ben Pietrusinski

Shumaila Fatima has a kind heart, a lot of knowledge and an immense amount of passion for her work. As a graduate student here at Penn State, Shumaila is dedicated to her studies with a focus in international affairs and economic development.

As a student, she has had the opportunity to create an organization called Share Khayr. Share Khayr is an organization that is in India, and the goal is to, “serve the local community, more specifically the less privileged, to attain a better quality education,” according to the website.

Shumaila says, “My goal is to utilize my academic knowledge and personal and professional experiences to harness the power of education to promote peace and sustainably improve the livelihood of marginalized and less-privileged populations.”

Shumaila emphasized three aspects of what her goals and values consist on for her education:  education, gender equality and youth involvement. With these, she hopes to grow Share Khayr and spread her knowledge to people interested.

The amazing thing about Share Khayr is that not only does this help children by providing education, Share Khayr provides adults with teaching opportunities as well – and most teachers are female.

Photo by Ben Pietrusinski

 

Shumaila hopes to expand her work to other places that might need it. She has created and reviewed lesson plans that are currently being used to train teachers as well.

Shumaila shows strength from being who she is and embracing where she comes from.

“I was born and raised in India, I migrated to the United States when I was 18 years old and have been concentrating on the gulf countries since my undergraduate studies; this multicultural and multifaceted identity is my strength that has made me a global citizen.”

She still has a lot to write about, but her passion is evident in every word she speaks about education, youth empowerment and gender equality.

“I don’t think it is special, I think it is doable,” Shumaila says.

Through Share Khayr, Shumaila hopes to take the workshops she has worked on in schooling and conduct more of them through her organization.

The strength Shumaila shows is evident – she even acknowledges that it hasn’t always been easy.

“I have faced my own share of challenges that include gender prejudice, cultural barriers and stereotypes.”

Education within the United States for Shumaila has been a blessing. She has gotten to create something to help less privileged students, and even teachers. Shumaila says Penn State allows her to do so.

Penn State has provided me the platform and opportunities to pursue my passion. The coursework of masters of international affairs program at SIA has allowed me to develop skills needed to advance my career in global leadership. Through this story, I would like to encourage youth to realize their potential and pursue their passion with dedication.

Share Khayr emphasizes something that could be beneficial for others to know as well – even if you personally are not going into education, “education is the first step towards developing a better society and better human beings. This change has to start from the individual then to his family and finally to the society as a whole.”

It starts with one. Thank you, Shumaila.

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