National to build school for Pak gang rape victim

DUBAI — Muktharan Mai, the gang rape victim from Pakistan who soon became an international symbol for the women's movement in the country, will now see her dream fulfilled of running a full-fledged children's school in her native village through the help of an Emirati philanthropist.

By Prerna Suri

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Published: Thu 14 Jul 2005, 10:37 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:42 PM

Hussain Abdulrahman Khansaheb, Chairman of Khansaheb Civil Engineering, is donating Pakistani Rs6 million (Dh375,000) for the construction of a 12-room primary school at Meerwala village in district Muzafargarh, Pakistan after reading about her plight in international newspapers.

"I felt very sorry when I heard about what this brave woman went through," he said. "After calling our agent in Islamabad, we realised that she was teaching 200 children who were crammed in just two rooms and decided to help her expand the premises."

Khansaheb then studied various architectural drawings of the proposed school and assessed that the school would be built for Rs 6 million. He then put aside an additional Rs1 million (Dh62,500) for furnishings such as carpets, curtains and air conditioners.

The school's plans show that the new building would house five classrooms, an increase from the present two, a staff room, principal's room , two computer labs, a canteen, playground and two bathrooms. The 12-room school would be able to cater to a large number of children with much ease.

"We want Mai to continue with the good work she is doing in imparting education to these young children. Only through education can our young generation escape a life of crime whose cruel fate Mai herself had to suffer," he said.

Khansaheb Civil Engineering, one of the oldest has been operating in the UAE for over 65 years. A noted philanthropist, Khansaheb has been regularly donating millions of dirhams for the construction of schools in countries such as Lebanon and the UAE.

Mai's has so far been running a primary school for girls and boys with the help of the money she raised abroad.

Anwar Baig, a senator at the Pakistan Parliament and who highlighted Mai's plight to Khansaheb, told Khaleej Times that the school was already a success and the donation would further help Mai's plans for expansion.

He said: "It is said that the total enrolment in the school increased to 350 and Khansaheb's donation will undoubtedly help Mai in this noble cause. The school's success shows that the villagers trust her and that she is rebuilding her life once again."

Mai was gang-raped by at least 13 men in 2002 as revenge after her younger brother was allegedly found to have an affair with a girl of a different clan. During the past three years, she has been fighting to bring to justice to the accused. Recently, in a landmark judgment, the Pakistan Supreme Court ordered the re-arrest of the 13 accused and placed them under judicial custody.

Khansaheb urged many more individuals to come forward and help her in this endeavour. "If every person in Dubai even contributes Dh200 from their pockets for this woman, then she can continue with this noble cause of imparting education to the village children."

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