It has been blazing hot in the Punjab with power outages of up to 18 hours a day, but despite this, it has been a full few months for the staff and students at Marshall Direct Fund schools. April was the start of another school year and we welcomed 40 new nursery aged students. Their smiles and eagerness to learn is something precious to watch. In addition, schools instituted an annual election where students vote for leaders to assume various responsibilities including mentoring younger students, keeping the schools clean, and serving as representatives of their class and school. In May and June students made cards for Mother’s Day, 5th graders participated in a cooking class, a writing competition was held, measles vaccine administered, an anti-smoking assembly took place, and parent teacher meetings scheduled to discuss homework to be performed over the summer break. During the first month of summer holiday teachers held a camp to assist students needing extra help in any given subject. Now teachers are preparing for their annual training and are in the midst of participation in an exchange with teachers in the USA. The Story Swap is conducted in partnership with the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Writers Foundation. Teachers share correspondence to get to know one another then share a personal story that has impacted their life. These stories are then written by their counterpart as if they were them, putting themselves in the other persons shoes. We very much look forward to the final stories and the impact experienced by this meaningful exchange. We welcome site visits by anyone interested in MDF schools and activities. A darling video of some of the students, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPyItZU5Tiw, is online to thank you for believing in them. Know that this project enables youth and their families to obtain credible education, critical thinking skills, and provides a safe place to learn and grow where they can better respond to natural disasters and other challenges Pakistan faces in the future. Please help us generate awareness – Become a fan of our Facebook page, join us on Twitter, and share with your networks. If you would like to start a MDF Circle group in your community there are various one-time or re-occurring ideas and activities that we would be pleased to share. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at +01(970)963-3150. Thank you so much for your continued support!
It has been a full few months, students prepared for and took their annual exams in march and several 5th grade students took the centralized exams organized by the Federal Education Department as well. Parent conference meetings took place in January so that teachers could share strengths and weaknesses of student performance and behavior, and discussed ways to improve and support students. The Director of Operations also brainstormed with parents how they might be able to contribute to their children’s education so that the schools will be able to achieve long term sustainability for the schools. Head Teachers at the MDF schools continue to send weekly reports which help address challenges they are facing and provide the support necessary to run effective schools.
Our director, Sabohi Ali delivered a session at a university in Lahore on Community Development. MDF teachers were able to attend and college students were introduced and informed how teachers are serving the community and provided input on how to volunteer and give back to their communities. We were delighted to learn that a group of volunteers offered to help obtain resources to provide sewing machines for the vocational training MDF is now doing.
Lastly, students have been able to do several creative projects, decorating their classrooms and working with new art mediums. We were also lucky to have visits by potential partners and donors – students showed off their artwork, and skills by reciting nursery rhymes and poems. We welcome site visits by anyone interested in MDF schools and activities. To see current photos of our school activities, please visit our Director of Operations albums on facebook here. Thank you to all of our supporters who have made the success of this program possible.
The potential for Small & Medium Enterprise development in Pakistan is very high. A large portion of the population are under or unemployed and possess the desire and potential to easily acquire marketable skills to acquire substantial incomes if linked with more lucrative markets. One of the most notable skills that entrepreneurs possess is embellishment on a variety of fabrics, products, and shoes, but it is a skill that they struggle to turn into a profitable asset due to isolation, lack of market access, lack of access to inputs, and lack of market knowledge.
After successful completion of the Vocational Training pilot project in Kashmir, Marshall Direct Fund is pleased to announce that a successive training has been conducted by the excellent trainer, Ruby Dewan, in Multan (South Punjab-Pakistan). Without a training facility secured, Ruby conducted the training out of her own home and nine women have graduated and completed the eLife training curriculum learning Communication Skills, Time Management, Market Survey and Research, Production, Entrepreneurial Competencies, Advertising and Promotion of Business, Costing, Pricing and Business Plan Development. The entrepreneurs are now actively engaged in creating the first product line for Peace of the Action, the for-profit entity associated with Marshall Direct Fund. Last month an office and training center in the region was secured and we are well on our way to reach our goal of reaching 1000 entrepreneurs within one year! Thank you to all of our supporters who have made the success of this program possible.
MDF encourages your involvement and welcomes any ideas that would help us to attract wider support. The project that you are supporting provides a safe place for mothers and their families to learn and develop skills that help make the world a safer and more secure place for all. Please help us generate awareness – become a fan of our Facebook page, join us on Twitter, and share with your networks. If you would like to start a MDF Allies in Action group in your community there are various one-time or re-occurring ideas and activities that we would be pleased to share. You can reach us at email@example.com or +01 (970) 963-3150. Learn more about our activities by visiting our website at www.marshalldirectfund.org