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'My Story' Radio Show Delivers Dose of Optimism

Rehmat Ali Shaheen
When Shahnaz Aziz created the Urdu Service’s popular weekly radio program, My Story, she wanted to remind people “of the goodness in their own societies.”

“It’s important to provide these stories of hope, so that our listeners can think, ‘My situation may not be good, but there are others who are even less fortunate, and they remain hopeful,’” Shahnaz said.

The story of Rehmat Ali Shaheen, who was recently featured on My Story, does exactly that.

Rehmat, pictured above in his makeshift wheelchair, has overcome extreme physical and financial hardship in his quest to complete his college degree. He currently works for less than $10 a month tutoring kids to help pay for college, He has tried many times to get a government job, but has been consistently rejected.

On that show, Shahnaz invited Pakistani Senator Raja Zafar Ul Haq, who is also Secretary General of the World Muslim Congress, to call in. He was so touched by Rehmat’s perseverance that he announced a scholarship fund for Rehmat and promised him a job after graduation.

The senator admitted on air that thousands of disabled people in Pakistan suffer because of insufficient, or nonexistent, government assistance.

Rehmat's story is just one of many My Story successes. Shahnaz routinely sifts through hundreds of letters, emails and Facebook submissions and selects three to four people to tell their own stories on air. Most receive some sort of help from philanthropists or legal or health experts who are moved by what they hear.

Read about another heartwarming My Story featured in the VOA Buzz, The Cow and the Radio Show.