Young Researcher Award holder Anum Wali in an Interview, talks about her struggle story

Interview By: Safia Sher Bahadur

Tell us about your childhood and education?
I am born in Rawalpindi, my father belongs to Lahore but shifted to Rawalpindi back in 1980 so all my schooling is from Rawalpindi. My childhood routine was getting up at 6 in the morning, leaving for my school by 7:30, staying there till 2 and coming back home. After some rest, I had to do my school work again so; my life was not different from a prisoner’s. Best time of my childhood was summer vacations which we used to spend at my grandparent’s place. I used to call it Freedom Time where we could do anything. No one could scold us because of strong support of our beloved grandparents. I was a good student but was never a topper yet surprisingly I secured highest marks in matric& FSc pre medical then BBA (Hons) in marketing.
What’s the hardest time in your life how you overcome this?
30th September 2015 was a day full of pain. Early in the morning my mother suddenly got fainted and was taken to hospital. Everyone was saying that she is alright but I was sensing something wrong. Around 12:45am, with continuous prayers for my mother, I started walking in my room. At 1:02 my heart suddenly said EVERYTHING IS ENDED. Yes, everything was ended as my mother passed away. Till February 16, I did not know about anything and I started the university, it was extremely hard to continue my study. By the support of my friends and teachers I completed my degree. It was the time when I was back to life but did not want to live. Keeping me busy was the only solution.
Life is like a roller-coaster. It’s really hard for you to come out how you started your professional life?
My father was so encouraging. He always wanted his children to opt whatever field they want to. My first challenge was to convince my siblings for job as they were saying you do not need a job, why you are looking for it, office environment is not good for females etc. My father asked my siblings whether he has ever stopped them from doing anything they wanted and they replied no, so my father said how I can stop her from doing what she wants. I just wanted to keep myself busy as it was extremely hard to live without my mother. By the strong support of baba, I joined one of the multinational organizations i.e. Teamsun Technology luckily. That organization not only gave me chance to work but also polished my skills. I highly appreciate their respectful working environment for females. There were not any fixed
timings but there is zero tolerance to late work. I was blessed to serve that organization. I left the organization because it became hard for me to manage home and work together at 100% perfection.
After resignation I started freelancing; by the Grace of Allah I got many projects but still there was an urge in my heart that I have to do something for my mother. So, I started working on my research paper. I wanted to publish it in international journal. Work hard and dream big. I always believe everything is possible but you need determination.
I am having negative vibes from people that it is not possible at bachelor’s level to get your paper published in any good international journal. I planned to work hard for publishing my paper in international journal with great motivation. After completing, I started searching for HEC recognized journals. I kept on visiting the websites and spent hours in searching journals and checking their recognition. One fine day, I found advertisement on HEC website regarding 3rd Asian Conference and on the same day I started the registration process by sending abstract.
After few days I got acceptance letter. I was so excited but all of it vanished when I thought about the expenses. I made a silent prayer to Allah Almighty. I asked my teacher about its worth (publication and presentation). After getting positive response I submitted its publication fee (all my own savings). I suggest taking risk on your own money. After submission of fee, I applied for sponsorship with 98% surety that I will not get the sponsorship. Mostly, only PhD’s or Post Docs present paper and their work experience is better than bachelor level students so there was a little hope. I started praying and doing good deeds because of having strong belief in “if you help others Allah will help you”. Alhamdulillah on 17 November early in the morning I got the email of sponsorship. Excitement was at its peak and Alhumdulilah on my presentation day; I was not nervous at all and gave my best.