Tilyan Aslam, YouTuber

Turbat, Pakistan

“You already have so much financial burden. Why don't you send your daughters to a government school instead of this private one? There's no use in sending girls to a nice school when we all know they will end up with marriage and kids,” said a relative to my father in a family gathering when I was in elementary school. I was too young to even have a say in this regard but that day shaped my story and made me the person I am today. I didn't say anything but those words felt like a bullet on my chest. Although my father didn't listen to the relative and we continued to study in a nice private school, I could feel the glaring disparity between a girl and a boy in my society and how girls were treated as less worthy. I never felt celebrated as much as a boy would. That became fuel to my fire. I decided to work hard, really hard to break the stereotype about being a girl and prove to the world how powerful a girl can be. A year ago, I applied for a high school student exchange program known as YES and got selected. I went to the US and lived there for a year, attended an American high school, got to participate in every activity that I've ever wanted, started documenting my journey on YouTube and met people from all over the world. Soon after my arrival from the US, people started contacting me for their news channels and radio shows to share my inspiring journey from Balochistan, Pakistan to the US at the age of 16. I've become a famous YouTuber in my city and a writer for many online websites and look forward to becoming a motivational speaker someday. I'm grateful to the people who said "NO" to me or who doubted me because I’m a girl - that's what made me so passionate, determined and strong. I can see the pride in my parents’ eyes. But that's not it. I want every girl in my community to realize their strength and how far they can go. I've decided to help girls in my city go after their goals. I want them to dream big and to fly high because girls have the power to change the world and no one can stop them.” Tilyan Aslam, YouTuber and High School Student


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