Awareness and understanding within the community can help reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues
Zaheer Udin Babar Junejo
Masooma Brohi is a 13-year-old girl hailing from the Brohi Muhala of Chowbahar in Union Council Gozo, situated in the Tehsil Khairpur Nathan Shah of District Dadu. Her life’s journey has been marked by adversity and hardship, starting with her birth during the devastating 2010 flood, which displaced her family and left them without their basic necessities. Masooma is the daughter of Gulzar Ali, a rickshaw driver who works tirelessly with no exception, no matter he is sick, it’s raining, or scorching heat, to support his family of seven. The family consists of Masooma, her father, her mother, two brothers, and two twin sisters, all striving to make ends meet in the face of challenging circumstances.
Masooma’s life has been far from easy. She has never had the privilege of receiving sufficient food or the nurturing care of a mother’s milk during infancy, since she was starving and was forced to survive. Her father’s income from his rickshaw driving, although hard-earned, is barely enough to cover the essential expenses of the family. While her elder brother goes to a nearby government school, her two twin sisters are also enrolled in school, but Masooma is not. Her mother explains that when they tried to enroll her in school, she struggled to remember the way back home due to her mental health issues. Masooma’s mother attributes her mental health challenges to an accident, which has left her with ongoing struggles.
For Masooma and her family, the path to a better life is not only about financial assistance but also about receiving the necessary support and resources
Today, she faces stunting and requires nutritional support to overcome her developmental setbacks. The family’s primary source of income is daily earning from the Rickshaw and Benazir Income Support Fund, a program that provides financial assistance to low-income households. This support, combined with her father’s daily earnings, is what sustains the family and keeps their hopes alive for better days ahead. In spite of the challenges that life has thrown at Masooma and her family, they continue to persevere with determination and hope.
For Masooma and her family, the path to a better life is not only about financial assistance but also about receiving the necessary support and resources to address her mental health issues. Mental health care, nutritional support, and counseling can go a long way in helping her overcome her challenges. It’s crucial for the community and local authorities to be aware of the Masooma Brohi family’s situation. Support from local NGOs and government agencies can make a significant difference in their lives. Awareness and understanding within the community can help reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues and encourage inclusivity. Do come forward and help us to help her.
Zaheer Udin Babar Junejo, based in Hyderabad, is a specialist in Institutional Development, MEAL (Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability, and Learning), and Fundraising.