It’s back to school time for the children at Marshall Direct Fund schools throughout Pakistan. While the children spent time with their families, the teachers were hard at work. MDF staff took part in professional development programs with the goal of learning how to better serve the students and provide support to one another. Over the Summer, our new Director instituted an array of new and improved processes that the staff and students have benefited from, including more regular meetings chaired by different staff on various subjects with the objective of sharing challenges and learning from each others’ experiences, increasing confidence and range of skills, fostering leadership and respect for diversity, and improving time management and creativity. We intend to conduct future teacher training on subjects that range from IT development, volunteerism, and human rights, and to facilitate more frequent exchange of ideas between teachers at the different MDF schools.
We are very proud of the 250 students that graduated to the next level last June. We look forward to seeing their smiling faces in class this month. This year we will be implementing the Global Kid Connect (GKC) program in January or February for a fourth year of connecting students on one side of the globe with another! This academic year, we will be partnering with Citizens Archive of Pakistan in order to reach more schools in Pakistan. Students who participate in GKC interact with their peers at sister schools in the U.S. via a classroom blog. On the blog, students exchange letters, pictures, drawings, cards, and collages all within a program that is designed to foster empathy and cultural exchange. The students at Pakistani schools had a lot to talk about last year. They got to go on their very first field trip ever - to a Museum followed by a park! We are so excited for these students to have the opportunity to take part in educational activities that provide a brighter future. We are also proud of the staff and our supporters that help make this possible.
Please know 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 also 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!
The young women participating in the vocational program are looking forward to their first day of training this September. Meanwhile, we have identified and hired a well qualified market linkage coordinator to ensure the success of the product (details to come!) We have also conducted further market research doing focus groups and conducting surveys, to get input from future buyers. Additionally, we are working with the wholesale provider to fine tune the raw products that the women will be embellishing. Once we launch the product we will be sure to share more details.
Thanks to your support, Marshall Direct Fund (MDF) received $25,015 in donations and an additional $12,248 from the Safer World Matching Fund Drive for a total of $37,262! There is still time to donate or encourage others to donate to this project with a 50% matching opportunity through the Safer World Foundation on the Global Giving website http://www.globalgiving.org/leaderboards/safer-world/. MDF is one of a handful of organizations that are being matched and there is still about $1,300 in matching funds available!
This September we are supporting an 18 day trek in Kashmir for those who would like to see this part of the world and get involved with MDF. All proceeds from this guided tour through the beautiful Northern Himalayas go straight to our vocational programs. More information on this once in a lifetime opportunity can be found by visiting the Klimb for Kashmir website: http://www.klimb4kashmir.org/ .
Marshall Direct Fund would sincerely like to thank all of our donors and supporters. MDF encourages your involvement and welcomes any ideas that would enable 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.
Last March, Executive Director Silbi Stainton made a surprise visit to MDF schools. Staff and students are always excited to see the Marshall Direct Fund U.S. staff who help make their access to education possible and a visit from the founder is even more exciting! Silbi was moved by the changes she saw in the older children who started several years ago who have now grown into capable, compassionate, and dedicated students. Silbi shared, “The children I once knew had grown into confident young men and young women. Instead of them looking up to meet my gaze, it was I looking up to them”. You can check out our Spring 2012 newsletter on our website to read more from Silbi.
Not only are the students showing the benefits of having consistent nutrition from lunches that our supporters (that’s you!) help to provide, they are also academically achieving at every level. Four Girls and four boys from Barakahu that took their central examinations passed with high scores! In addition, the field office staff and administrators continue to develop new tools and programs to ensure the children’s success. New policies and procedures have been adopted and implemented to refine best practices. One of the activities includes weekly meetings where teachers and staff share their experiences with their colleagues regarding lessons learned, challenges, and solutions. The Country Director says, “This exercise is helping teachers and staff gain confidence in communication…and is helping generate a sense of ownership, creativity, equity.”
Thank you so much for being an active member of our community. Please contact us with any questions or concerns or to share ideas. Want to learn more or connect? Visit our website at www.marshalldirectfund.org or become our fan on facebook.
Just as I now looked up to them, I came to learn that their own communities do the same. These young graduates are the pride and hope of their towns. - Silbi