Asfia Safia is a textile designer hailing from Gwadar. She is a fresh graduate of Bachelor of
Fine Arts in Textile Design from Punjab University College of Arts and Design, Lahore, and a competent young girl who has easily managed to secure a promising position in an International organization right after her final semester in University. She is handling United States Division as Product Development Officer in Texlynx based in Lahore. Texlynx is supposed to be one of the largest buying houses in South Asia.
However, reaching there was no way an easy journey. Asfia had to fight tooth and nail with merciless odds of life to fulfill the dreams of changing the material realities of her life. She grew up in a middle-class family. Asfia’s father was a selfish being who cared less for his family throwing her into depression during her school days. A bolt from the blue occurred when Asfia’s parents separated while she was a teenage girl who had just finished her matriculation from “The Oasis School, Gwadar”.
An unhealthy relationship is a rope of sand that eventually leads to separation. The separation of her parents took a heavy mental toll on young Asfia’s mind. She repeatedly went into episodes of depression and intermittently cried in the arms of her beloved mother. Nevertheless, Asfia’s mother gathered every strength to feed and nurture her children single-handedly. She started teaching in a local school and worked laboriously hard to earn for her children. She became a forceful backbone and a beacon of hope for Asfia and three of her other younger children.
Asfia’s mother, Miss Safia, encouraged her depressed child and boosted her morale up to embrace life and move on. Hence, Asfia took admission in GDA College [Gwadar] and opted pre-medical subjects to follow her passion for a career in the field of science. Although, she finished college studies with good grades, yet she was battling depression and sleepless nights. The separation of her parents shook her existence from the very core.
Despite all the illnesses, Asfia wanted to study in a reputed university of Pakistan but financial constraints never allowed her to pursue her passion. Resultantly, she enrolled in Gwadar Degree College for a B.Sc program. She also engaged in search of scholarships but failed to avail one. She kept crying and cursed her fate for so many reasons.
One day, a bunch of guys from Balochistan, who were studying at Punjab University, visited Gwadar to spread awareness on a fully-funded scholarship program announced by the Vice-Chancellor of Punjab University to accommodate a hundred students from Balochistan against reserve seats. Asfia Safia was one among four hundred students who attended the awareness seminar. She keenly took notes of every detail and ended up applying for different science-related departments just to fit somewhere in a science program. She also applied for the textile design department even without having the slightest idea of the subject. She applied for it just because it seemed interesting to her. She eagerly waited for results but her name did not appear in any list of her choices.
Asfia lost the only glimmer of hope and once again plunged into depression. Life in Gwadar and the financial conditions of her were biting her like a termite. She had shunned hoping against hope. Amidst series of crises, one day she received a phone call from Punjab University administration congratulating her selection in the textile design department of arts against a reserved seat of fully funded scholarship with hostel facilities.
Asfia was confusingly thrilled but grabbed this window of opportunity against her die-hard inclinations towards science. She packed her bags and reached Lahore to study arts.
Interestingly, when Asfia attended the orientation class, she was shocked to find that textile designing is an arts department related to drawing and painting. She was a science freak from childhood and neither wanted to study arts nor did she have any interest towards it. She complained to her mother that she had landed here for something which did not relate to her interest at all. Her inspiring mother encouraged and motivated her daughter to cease the opportunity instead of stepping back to invite mockery from people in society.
Asfia has always followed her mother’s instructions. She paid heed to her advice and stayed in Lahore to study textile design just to alter the grim situations of life one way or other. She started her university journey but faced severe hardships on the way. She had to work into the small hours every night and sleep less to make a difference in her studies. She endured a lot of pain.
Asfia was a below average student in her class, therefore she had to double her efforts for better grades. She knew she had no other way out so she decided to firmly fight against overwhelming odds. The new ethno-lingual environment of Lahore shattered her
confidence. Initially, she was a silent spectator in her class. However, slowly and gradually she began to comprehend her subjects. It took a full long year for her to conform to a new cultural life of Lahore.
Asfia took admission in English Access Micro-scholarship program which is a US funded course of two years to develop certain skills. She acquired communication and team management skills from Access program. It tremendously helped her by developing confidence building measures. Later on, she successfully became a member of the Pakistan US Alumni Network (PUAN) where she cultivated a sense of community services. She co-founded a non-profit youth organization with her batch fellows in the name of “We Humanitarianism” and collected donations from people to feed, treat and educate slum area kids of Lahore. Asfia with her volunteer friends sold sandwiches and burgers outside the university campuses without a fixed price. They collected the earned money to buy books and other accessories for underprivileged school kids.
Apart from studies, she joined various other organizations for humanity services. She has been a part of Lagan, Allah Waly Trust, Rotary Club and voluntarily worked for the betterment of poor and needy segment of society.
Besides social and community services, Asfia was fond of attending diversified seminars to learn and adopt new things in life. She joined “Makers Camp” at Lincoln Corner where she learnt coding system and successfully created a child playing car operated by Bluetooth system which could be controlled by a mobile application. Asfia also headed workshops for entrepreneurship.
More importantly, she was excelling day by day in textile designing courses. She put every effort to understand the dynamics of art and compete with the lot in the class. She has created numerous art works and participated in national street art competitions, mastered in the art of knitting, and participated in several sketch competitions. She introduced Balochi embroidery in her class assignments and amazed her university professors with enticing traditional Balochi embroidery. She researched on ‘Makurani Doch’ in her thesis work. Asfia successfully graduated on September 2020 and joined Texlynx on October 2020.
Asfia Safia is a wonderful example of courage and determination. She had fought every battle of her life with patience and overcame all the difficulties by the dint of her hard work. She successfully found a new lease on life. In harshest of times, she composed her calm and maintained a positive attitude. She best fits in the saying that “when life gives you a lemon, make lemonade of it”. Asfia is a motivational figure who encourages young girls for career-oriented life instead of living passively inside the four walls of a house. “You shot for the moon, you are among the stars, Asfia.” Best wishes.