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
Thanks to your support, Marshall Direct Fund is happy to announce that the Vocational Training program for the first 200 women will begin this September. After we implement the pilot program in partnership with Foundation for Social Change and train other trainers, our goal is to work with and train 1,000 deserving women in 2013. Women participating in the vocational program will not only have an opportunity to double their existing income and gain business acumen and financial literacy, but there will be enough revenue generated to place a portion of the profits towards MDF activities to enable financial sustainability and long-term impact of the program for years to come.
There is still time to donate or encourage others to donate to this project with a 50% matching opportunity through Safer World Foundation on the Global Giving website. MDF is one of a handful of organizations that are being matched and there is still $8,000 in funds available! We are also supporting an 18 day women’s trek in Kashmir for those who would like to get further involved. More information on this once in a lifetime opportunity can be found by visiting the Klimb for Kashmir website: http://www.klimb4kashmir.org/ .
The World Bank identified a lack of marketable skills and vocational training as one of the three major barriers to Pakistan’s success in alleviating poverty. MDF is committed to the development of a program that teaches marketable skills that the population has identified that they want to learn. We have secured the necessary market linkages in both Pakistan and internationally to launch this program and look forward to sharing our progress with you. Thank you so much for being an active member of our community and helping to Pakistan to overcome these hurdles. 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.
We are starting to prepare for our third year of Global Kid Connect which we will implement between 100 students in the US and 100 students in Pakistan this March. Our first pilot year was between two classrooms and schools in the US and two in Pakistan. Last year we expanded to include three. This year we plan to incorporate four or five in each respective country. Through a blog, students post pictures of themselves and their family, upload drawings, videos and exchange questions and answers. It appears these kids are finding that they have much in common and are delighted to learn more about their counterparts in such a distant land. They explore what it means to be a leader, share their definitions of peace, compare their hopes and dreams and discuss topics related to family, geography, and culture. One girl and her sister in Pakistan were pulled from school because their father believed they were getting too old for studies (it is very common for youth in impoverished areas to attend a few years of school before helping their families in the home or by earning additional income). Despite the best efforts of the project manager, teacher and head mistress, the father was not convinced otherwise. It was not until the project manager shared a letter from his daughters pen pal in the US that he looked at the situation differently. You see, he didn’t realize that a young girl half way across the globe cared about his daughter and was proud of her achievements in school. This realization compelled him to change his mind and send his daughters back to one of the MDF schools where they now eagerly learn and look forward to connecting with their friends in America.
Please know this project is helping youth and their families to obtain credible education, critical thinking skills, and a safe place to learn and grow where they can also better respond to natural disasters 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 +01 (970) 963-3150 .