Meet the Pakistani woman who changed millions of lives

Dr. Quratulain Bakhteari


4 minutes read

There are very few people who are working on the infrastructure for the development of the poor areas of our country. One of them is the amazing Dr. Quratulain Bakhteari, a Pakistani woman who has dedicated her entire life for the betterment of this society. A refugee who changed millions of lives, this inspiring change will have an impact on generations to come.

Dr. Quratulain Bakhteari spent early years of her life living in a refugee camp in Karachi after the partition of 1947. Despite living in a refugee camp and taking care of her three children when she was only 22, she still managed to complete her Master’s Degree from Karachi University and later her Doctorate from the University of Technology in Loughborough, England. Her parents married her with a dentist when she was 16 years old. During the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, she was horrified with the magnitude of destruction and as a result she decided to help those in need. Her husband made her choose between family or work and she chose work.

After almost two decades of working in community development, Dr. Quratulain Bakhteari was convinced that people are in need of a different approach to involve them in a purposeful way. Thus her brainchild, the Institute for Development Studies and Practices (IDSP) was born. She thought of this unique and amazing concept in 1997 and start off with only five people working with her. The IDSP is the outcome of Dr. Quratulain Bakhteari’s broad experience in development work, and her faith that the new ways must be found to incorporate theories and practices in order to bring meaningful change in the society.

She is still working as the founding director of the Institute for Development Studies and Practices (IDSP), and has committed herself to motivate the next generation of political and social activists in Pakistan. Her organization is focused on social activism, health care and education. IDSP train their students in learning centers and offer them the opportunity to be engaged in their local communities where they can bring in some creative ways and ideas to implement positive change.

Dr. Quratulain Bakhteari has also been recognized as a Skoll Foundation Social Entrepreneur. She has been working for decades in Baluchistan for the female education and the development of rural communities and was nominated for the Nobel Peace Award in 2006. Dr. Bakhteari has spent more than 30 years in community development programs and humanitarian causes including the Kashmir earthquake.

Dr. Quratulain also worked with the Orangi pilot project in Karachi by helping the residents to tackle sanitation and sewage problems. Her work became the basis for government policies in developing the low-cost sanitation projects in low-income areas. In the year 1988, she moved to Quetta, Baluchistan to work on water and sanitation project. Later on, as a representative of an international agency, she helped the Baluchistan Government to set up around 1800 primary schools for girls in the province.

Dr. Quratulain Bakhteari is indeed an inspiration for all of us and an amazing woman. She is passionately involved in the betterment of the the community, and encourages others to do the same. She is a ray of hope to the hopeless and happiness to those in despair. She leads with the example and making impossible possible.

Let’s appreciate her for the tremendous community work and her efforts to make this world a better place to live.