London, Oct 08 (BAN): Meet Samia Qader, a proud daughter who wants the world to know her mother, Mrs. Zeenat Qader's story. This one is for all you women who believe that their life is meant to be dedicated to their children and family. She has set an example for us to follow and we are honoured to feature her in our list of Inspirational Women.
Zeenat, born and brought up in Bangladesh, got married at 23 to Samia's father who worked as a Diplomat and travelled across the globe with his work. Naturally, Zeenat moved everywhere with him. Within the first year of marriage, she had her oldest daughter and within the next three came along Samia. Her hands were tied with family duties and responsibilities and of course, constantly moving countries! From, Bangladesh to Rome, Massachusetts and then New York, Kenya, Islamabad, Belgium and Saudi Arabia, they travelled globally with work and life.
Zeenat's top most and only priority was to make her daughters financially independent. She made sure they were strong and could sustain themselves and spent her entire youth working towards her daughter's career, guiding and supporting. Today the oldest is settled in California and Samia works for herself in London. Zeenat herself comes from an economics background and only got married after obtaining her Masters in her field. If she had a chance, she would've perhaps joined the financial stream for a living but destiny had other plans for her.
Apart from being a doting mother, Zeenat spent a lot of time accompanying her husband at state dinners almost all her husband's career time. Samia recalls how they even had to sometimes host twice a month or they were away for meetings and social evenings on National Days. She did not shy away from doing what was the call of the day. She had the hunger to learn and to meet people. She was always inquisitive, so much so that that she was the first one out the entire family to have learnt how to use the computer. She enrolled herself in a Computer Literacy course in the late 80s or early 90s and wanted to move with the time. In her own way, she was different to other women around her. Many of whom she knew, either got married very early or were not allowed to pursue a career.
It was only later when her husband decided to retire that Zeenat decided to begin her career. After settling down in Bangladesh, Zeenat started teaching which she absolutely loved and enjoyed. Eventually, she became a school administrator. Children loved her and she got full time committed to the profession. This gave her the confidence to open her own school with her sister, who had experience of running a school for many years. Today her school, Excel Academy, has been running for almost 6 years where she heads almost over 600 children as the Principal. Zeenat is passionate about making a difference in every child's life. She loves to work and loves going to work. Her face radiates every time you speak of how her work is. Nothing seems to stop her anymore- not her age (even though she's turning 69 this year), or her husband's illness (which she is able to manage very well with her work). Unfortunately, Samia's father was diagnosed with Stage 4 Prostrate cancer last year and their world seemed to topple upside down. Her father, as Samia remembers, was a very energetic person who was always in control of his fitness and health. To see him suffer this way, was a big blow to the family. Zeenat however, has been standing strong, as she always has, and has not given up on anything in her life.
Why was this story important, you may ask? I know a whole lot of women, including me, who think of giving up in frustration. As women, we are taught to put our families first. True that, but nobody has stopped us from dreaming and taking them forward. There is no age to realising them, no boundaries to stopping them. For Zeenat, she has only just begun. There is so much talent and intelligence in our Indian Subcontinent, but many people either fail to get the right opportunity or mindset. Fortunately for Zeenat, her mother has been the strongest person in her life who brought them up as strong women themselves. Zeenat and her sister today are doing what they love. In the end, that is what matters. It is the peace of mind and leaving a legacy that will remain for her daughters and for people like us who look for examples like that of Zeenat’s in our lives.