Visually-impaired Khansa Maria from Pakistan wins Oxford scholarship
LONDON/LAHORE– An ambitious 22-year-old girl Pakistani student, struggling for an inclusive society for people with disabilities, has achieved another milestone towards her dream by bagging Rhodes Trust Scholarship 2021 to Oxford University.
Khansa Maria, who hails from Lahore, will be pursuing a master's degree in evidence-based policy intervention and social evaluation in next fall.
Activist Khansa won the scholarship in November 2020, becoming the only recipient to receive the prestigious 2021 Rhodes Scholarship in Pakistan.
Deeply passionate about advocating for the rights of people with disabilities, Khansa currently attends Georgetown University’s Qatar campus for her bachelor degree in foreign service with a concentration in culture and politics.
She believes in actions rather than words as she is also working with the US Embassy in Qatar to develop a conversation around diversity, inclusion and promote regenerative discourse on prevalent socio-political issues.
In her sophomore year she was a recipient of a Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) Grant which enabled her to investigate the barriers impacting the inclusion of people with disabilities in the Qatari workforce, writes Rhodes Trust in her profile on its website.
On campus, Khansa leads various clubs including the Georgetown Debating Union and the South Asian Society.
At Oxford, Khansa hopes to further her studies in public policy and social intervention. Khansa hopes to work on inclusive policy making and capacity building for the disability community in Pakistan.
Talking to an international media outlet, Maria said that she had firsthand experience about the impacts of not having an inclusive society.
Vowing to give back, she told VOA: “I do have a certain responsibility to my community to improve things to the extent that I can or at least lend my skills or my experience to the benefit of future blind people from Pakistan”.
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