The adolescent matriarch


A mother holds the utmost importance in everyone’s life. She is the nexus of the household, who binds and nurtures everyone under her care.

Most women become mothers at adulthood, but Sara, who resides in a small native village of Mardan, is a ‘mini-mama’ at the age of 10. She has three brothers and two sisters. She would go to school during the mornings, and would be seen carrying her sister after school. Her sister is now 3, and her mother gave birth to a baby boy who is a few months old, so now it’s his turn to be coddled and carried by Sara.

She looks after her baby brother with a maternal attitude. As a mini mama. In most cases, a girl of 10 is considered a child herself, however Sara shares the maternal responsibilities with her mother so the latter can dedicate her time towards managing the household.

Sara’s 70 year old grandmother narrated an old Pashto saying, “Na da lus korunu kar ao na yu mashum,” explaining that taking care of a single child is equivalent to managing ten homes.

Besides taking care of her siblings, she looks after domestic pets and brings food for her cow and buffaloes from the fields. Hubaib, Sara’s younger brother, has a very strong bond with her. When someone else holds him, he cries for Sara. Her siblings can be seen in one of the photographs.

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