Pakistani girls, women capable of achieving the impossible: Kristin

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LAHORE
The US Consul General to Lahore Kristin Hawkins has said that women empowerment has been the nucleus of her efforts at the Consulate and women participation is encouraged through exchange programs, educational scholarships and internship programs.
“I believe Pakistani girls and women are capable of achieving the impossible through equal opportunities,” she said during an interview with APP in connection with the Women’s History Month here on Saturday.
Kristin Hawkins said the U.S. Mission shares the belief that gender equity is essential to economic growth and development, democracy, and political stability in all societies.
About the Women’s History Month, Kristin Hawkins said the month of March, besides observing International Women’s Day on March 8, was commemorated throughout the United States and other countries to celebrate the strengths, resilience and accomplishments of the women across all sectors ranging from business, academia, sports and others.
To a question she said her efforts towards empowerment of women are not limited to Women’s History Month only as the women-centred initiatives occupy the whole calendar, adding that it is not only about celebrating women but making them independent, vocal, self-sufficient and leader.
Charismatic Kristin Hawkins, passionate about women empowerment and cultural preservation in Punjab, said “during the past 20 years, the US Mission Pakistan has funded 35 cultural preservation projects worth $8.4 million through the AFCP,” adding costing approximately one million dollars, 20 out of these projects are in Punjab and scores of young women have been involved in these projects to revive and restore the past galore of architectural wonders side by side their male counterparts.
She said a US funded internship program in conservation techniques for local youth to acquire marketable skills has provided opportunity to girls at the Lahore Fort and Wazir Khan Mosque, adding the program is intended to make the youth more resourceful.
“Fulbright Scholarship, International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP), Student Exchange Programs and multiple High school scholarships are different opportunities offered to the young girls to make their mark,” the diplomat said.
Meena Arham, a conservation scientist and team lead at the Wazir Khan Mosque Restoration Project, told APP that she has been part of the Agha Khan Cultural Services in Pakistan (AKCSP) in Pakistan since 2014, adding that she feels empowered that she feels empowered to work on the restoration of a centuries-old architectural heritage site like the Wazir Khan Mosque.
Zeina Naseer, a Conservation Scientist at AKCSP, has been heading conservation and restoration of the 1600 feet long historic Picture Wall and Sheesh Mahal (Palace of Mirrors) at the Lahore Fort. She takes pride in the fact that their work will be a beacon for generations to come, adding the US-funded internship program will usher in a bright future for the young professionals.
In her message to Pakistani girls and women, in connection with the Women’s History Month, the Consul General Hawkins said, “just keep it up. You can achieve great things whether you want to be a professor, doctor, engineer, lawyer, politician or go into business. Look to connect with others in your community and set high goals in life.”.