“We have no money to escape.”

There were two other girls shot along with Malala that day. One of them is trapped at home in Swat, unable to go back to school.

Due to complications, her home recovery lasted several months. To this day, she endures severe nerve pain and still does not have full function of her hand.

“I want go to school even if the Taliban comes for me again. I will never give up,” Kainat said. It was a gentle resolve, the kind of fortitude that cannot be taught, only earned. When I told her I was a doctor, she beamed. “I want to be a doctor too, so I can help people.”

The “I” in the story is Seema Jilani,

a physician who worked extensively on medical evacuation flights for critically ill children. She specializes in pediatrics and has done humanitarian aid work in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt and Bosnia.  Reporting for this piece was done during a trip to Pakistan in November 2012.

Kainat is much worse off than Malala.

Since the shooting, neighbors have repeatedly told Kainat to stop going to school. Some have even accused her of inviting the Taliban’s wrath onto the community. When I asked her why she kept the shawl from the shooting, she responded: “It is the only emblem of my life, with the stain of my blood, my struggle.”

Weeks later, I woke to the shrill jingle of my mobile phone. Kainat was scrambling for breath and anxious. There had been an explosion at the house next door to hers. “Maybe it was a natural gas explosion, but maybe it was the Taliban. They blame me. I wake up with nightmares. The neighbors all tell me to leave.” Her voice splintered, “We have no money to escape. I am scared for my life.”

Despite her valiant efforts, Kainat has only been able to attend school twice since last December. All modes of transportation — buses, taxis, and private cars — refuse to drive her to school. She studies from home now. The Pakistani Army has cautioned the family that their safety cannot be guaranteed outside their home, so they remain under house arrest after dark. Kainat has not left her home in over three weeks.

There is no physical therapy available for her wound recovery, nor is there any mental counseling for her PTSD. For this brave 15-year-old girl, there are no visits to friends’ homes, no trips to the market. She cannot even walk outside her home.

Jilani has been trying to get help for Kainat, and getting nowhere.

Shazia Ali has set up an Indiegogo fundraiser for Kainat. It’s at $920, aiming for $5000.

Please spread the word.

Thanks to Avicenna for spreading the word.



  1. fastlane says

    What’s the fundraiser for? Getting them out of there and to a civilized country? I’d recommend Canuckistan…..

    I wish the US would automatically just grant asylum to women and minorities from countries that are that oppressive. It will never happen, but one can hope.

  2. says

    I think to enable them to move away from Swat, first of all. The article says the other girl and her family moved to Punjab, which is much safer, but Kainat’s family doesn’t have the money to move. Where they are Kainat can’t get to school because no one will provide transport. Getting out of Swat would be step one.

  3. MarkF says

    All three of them sound like very strong people. I agree #1, Kainat and her family should come to Canada. We always need more folk of that calibre.

  4. says

    I don’t have any online account, and was wondering where I could safely send some dosh on to for the sole purpose of the two other girls? It was heartbreaking to see that the media and the like ignored them, whilst putting Malala on a pedestal. Don’t get me wrong, I think Malala deserves all she got, but so too do the two other girls. I saw similar media stuff happen over and over again with respect of survivors of industrial *schools*. It’s great that people have finally cottoned on to their miserable plight.

    I heard Mala speak from her Birmingham hospital bed. She is amazingly articulate for a girl, who speaks English as a second language and one so young.

    I made a comment a while ago. See: The Forgotten Malala – NYTimes.com via @nytimes http://nyti.ms/YxljEU

  5. says

    Thanks Stacy / OB. I saw the link. I’ll get an old O2 credit card renewed that can be specifically used for such online purposes. Am reluctant to give personal bank credit-card details over Internet. It’s a every worthy cause.

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