This summer I’m getting married to the most wonderful girl in the world. To me and her this is a very happy time and we are very lucky to be able to celebrate our marriage with all our friends and family.
Growing up in a small town in Norway I never thought that the girl I was going to marry was learning to read in sprawling Rawalpindi in Pakistan. The difference from Bergen, a rainy city on the west coast of Norway, to Rawalpindi is as contrasting as one can find. When we met, none of the differences in upbringing mattered. We fell in love with each other and all the differences in the world didn’t matter. We made each other happy and that was enough for us.
Last year when we decided to get married we realized that nothing about our wedding would be traditional in any sense. So instead of going for the big diamond ring as a symbol of our love and commitment we wanted to do something different.
Both, Nada and I, have an inherent respect for education, our familys always stressed the importance of education, Nada’s story can be read here. For me it was never a question of if I was going to study at a university it was just a question of what I wanted to study. In recent years I have realized just how lucky I am to have grown up in Norway where all education is free, even most post-graduation degrees. This is not the case for most of the world and even more so for Pakistan.
Unlike most of the developed nations in the world today, Pakistan does not have a mandatory education system. The state is too poor to pay for school for its 182 million inhabitants, 3 out of every 10 children aged 5-9 years do not go to school. Once in school, the dropout rate is extremely high. Overall literacy in Pakistan is extremely low, about 92 million people cannot read and write. And at the current rate of investment in education it is not likely to change.
Therefore, to mark our union, we decided to build a school in Pakistan with money raised from Norway. To achieve this goal we are asking all our friends and family to help us by donating towards this goal. Thank you for supporting us in this cause and helping us make our dream come true. I will end with Malala’s wise words: “One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”