Khatija Faizan aged 20, is married to Abdul Rasheed, a man eight years older than her. They live in Dhok Hassu, an urban slum in Rawalpindi city. It is an underdeveloped area with little or no educational, health and infrastructure development. After being visited by a ‘Noor Aapi’ (working for the PPIF-AHKRC program) at her house for family planning counseling, she expressed her interest to work as an Aapi herself. Before commencing work as a Noor Aapi, she acquired the necessary training at the AHKRC office, which made her eligible to provide family planning products and counseling in Dhok Hassu. So far, Khatija has conducted 4 group meetings with around 60 female participants in the community. During the project, she also actively participated in 7 medical camps set up in Dhok Hassu, along with AHKRC staff.
Since her home is located at a significant distance from the district hospital, she had very little awareness on reproductive health necessities and choices prior to the intervention. However, after her extensive engagement with the project, she said, “We don’t have the same facilities as other areas, and the hospitals are quite far away so most women don’t know a lot about reproductive health choices. When I was visited by an Aapi, I was motivated to join the program as well, and learned all I could so that I could teach other women as well.”
In Khatija’s neighborhood, women are usually married off at a very young age, and become pregnant multiple times in course of their lives, giving rise to large family sizes. Khatija herself got married when she was merely 16, and had three children by the time she was 21. She didn’t want to have any more children but didn’t have any information on the options available to her. That was when she was visited by a Noor Aapi, who referred her to a private clinic for an IUCD insertion.
Having worked with AHKRC for some months now, Khatija says, “There was no one to tell me about my reproductive health choices before. I would have followed the societal norms of bearing children one after the other with no proper birth spacing, had PPIF not launched their project in the area. I am happy with the three children I do have, since I can properly devote my time to their needs. I can also perform my responsibility as a Noor Aapi competently, given my understanding for the need for family planning. I am very thankful that AHKRC gave me capacity building trainings, and also convinced my husband to support me in my decision to limit our family size.”
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