Fatimah and Malaika: A Tale of Two Sisters


The five unsponsored girls from Noreen Zindagi stand together. Fatimah is the first child on the left, while Malaika is the third child from the left


People are small, minuscule in the grand scheme of things, or expendable even, once they have outlived their use of course. It is cruel, ironically inhumane, but a fact of life nonetheless. We must live with it, move on, and not let it or the loss of another person define who we are because the past is the past. Yet, even so, that does not certainly mean the person is replaceable.


No one is replaceable for there is a bond present albeit repulsive or attract but it is there, a part of our life, regardless of the fact that we like it or not. And hence, knowingly or knowingly, it makes a place in our hearts, one that can only be left empty when gone whether it is between a soldier and his enemy or two sisters and their father.

Nine-year-old Fatimah and seven-year-old Malaika had the same bond with their father, a bond severed.

Once that happened, the two were orphaned and their mother widowed. So, as is Islamically allowed, she decided to re-marry, in hopes that their new father, step-father, could give these poor little girls a better life. Innocent souls deserve it after all but the world had to prove its divine law, that no one was replaceable. Whether it was due to financial strain or plain ego, apparently the latter, this new father refused to take Fatimah and Malaika in, bear their responsibility, or to even accept them at all.


He had no intention of taking the role as their father.


Children are dependent, their legs too weak to stand up on their own. They need support, a pillar to lean on but now, without a father and apparently a mother too for her marriage was in jeopardy otherwise, the sisters had nowhere to go, no one to look after them.

And no one to care for them for the life ahead.

Except, of course, Madam Noreen. Malaika was embraced by the Madam’s orphanage a year ago where her sister Fatimah was already waiting for half a year. At least the sisters had each other, a bond still intact. It was a bond so strong that the girls, oddly, do not fight with each other over “little” matters such as which doll belongs to who.

Now at last, thanks to the funds that you, the people, provided for the fundraiser that included sponsoring these sisters, they can now be cared for and they are cared for to the point of having dreams. When in difficulty, the only dream one has is to be free from it. This is a cage, one that binds a person from becoming better for the vision is sweet but also, on a more personal level, poison.

Children are meant to explore horizons, not to stay caged. Their life is supposed to be easy, to be sheltered and protected. It is why Fatimah dreams of becoming a doctor so she can help people, while Malaika wants to join the army. Though Malaika does not know yet why, she still is driven in her cause. Unlike many, both sisters get to understand themselves better and actually grow. However we, as adults, know that life only grows tougher so let us continue to support Madam Noreen so that the children, like these girls, can continue to grow and understand themselves better.

With this, Malaika, at least, might actually be able to understand why she wants to become an Army Officer because in her eyes, her dream is something more.

From Afsana: We are pleased to share that we have reached our fundraiser's goal here -- your support and funds will sponsor Fatimah and Malaika for the next six months. If you are interested in continuing to support Noreen Zindagi, find out more information here.


Written by Muhammad Hamza Suleman of Afsana