Marshall Direct Fund

Our mission is to improve relations between the West and the Muslim world by working together to alleviate poverty and illiteracy via sustainable educational and economic development in Southwest Asia.
Jun 23, 2011

Update on Vocational Training in Pakistan May 2011

The Gallerie fabric selection
The Gallerie fabric selection

We are excited to announce that we are in the midst of piloting our first products from the female entrepreneurs working in vocational centers in Pakistan. In partnership with IKI Foundation, we are working with several talented young women who are producing tunics, sandals, yoga mat bags, and embellished goods.

These products will be sold in the US marketplace at a handful of retail outlets and depending on how they are received and successive demand, we will be scaling the project to get more women involved. Once we have confirmed adequate demand for these products, the more experienced sewers and manufacturers in the IKI Foundation vocational centers located in Pakistan administered Kashmir will train women in the communities that MDF has schools in so that we can launch vocational centers in more locations. This will enable more women to gain economic opportunities and fair wages that will help alleviate conditions of poverty for them and their families.

See picture of one of the fashion designers at The Gallerie in Aspen, selecting fabric from Pakistan and designs that she would like to sell at her store.

MDF invites your input and involvement and would love any ideas that would enable us to attract wider support. We would sincerely like to thank all of our donors and supporters. Please know this project is helping mothers and their families to obtain credible education, critical thinking skills, and a safe place to learn and grow so that we may all have a more secure and rich 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 info@marshalldirectfund.org or +01 (970) 963-3150. Learn more about our activities by visiting our website at www.marshalldirectfund.org.

Jan 24, 2011

Long-term reconstruction via education: Project 1

Fostering dignity, not dependence…Providing choice, not charity...

As you know, this past summer has been one of the toughest in Pakistan history. Schools, homes and crops have washed away and more than a million people have been displaced. The devastation from the flooding is estimated to be worse than hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake, and the Indian Ocean tsunami combined. Extremist organizations have tried to capitalize on slow and relatively small international response in order to gain appreciation and loyalty of communities. Marshall Direct Fund (MDF) is assisting in the long term reconstruction efforts and will continue to provide primary education and expand operations to include vocational education to decrease vulnerability, contribute to economic opportunity, alleviate poverty, and provide alternatives choices to cooperating with extremist organizations.


With inflation and lack of access to quality food it has become even more difficult to conduct operations and secure healthy lunches for children at MDF schools.  We have been affected by the global recession like many other wonderful nonprofits, and have experienced challenges reaching the necessary goals to ensure that children receive books, uniforms, and other necessary items.  Fortunately, we have an amazing community of Pakistani teachers and project staff that work very hard to make sure that students get all that they need. We work creatively together and engage families to come up with innovative solutions to make sure that the learning experience for underserved youth is a positive one.  Instead of purchasing brand new books for students advancing a grade level, for example, students in the level above recycle their books after they have completed the course so that the students entering that class have access to the materials they need without the schools incurring costs for brand new books.


In the aftermath of the floods, it is easy for families to fall further into poverty. Many are tempted to put their children to work to contribute income to the family for survival. It is more difficult for them to see the long-term benefit of allowing their children to attend school where they are then capable of obtaining a far better salary which has the potential to help their family more. One of our students named Aamir is the eldest child in a poor family. A few years ago Aamir, who is now 9 years old, began working in a store to help his mom who was the sole provider for the family. There were no free schools then for Aamir. When MDF opened a school in their neighborhood, his mother eagerly enrolled him. Young Aamir, unbeknownst to his mom, skipped school for a week, heading back to work, feeling obligated to help his family. Fortunately, teacher Iman was on to him and caught him one morning as he was trying to sneak away. Iman explained that by attending school where he receives a free lunch, he is helping his parents offset their costs of feeding him, AND gaining access to an education that will give him better job prospects in the future. Aamir has since dedicated himself to school and passed 2 grade levels in a single year. His father, previously unemployed and frustrated by the world and his family’s plight, has become inspired by his sons’ dedication and has found a job himself. It is stories like this that inspire us to work even harder to assist Pakistan fulfill its potential.

MDF would sincerely like to thank all of our donors and supporters. 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 info@marshalldirectfund.org or +01 (970) 963-3150.

Jan 19, 2011

Update on Vocational Training in Pakistan

Vocational program in Kashmir
Vocational program in Kashmir

Fostering dignity, not dependence…Providing choice, not charity…

If you received our past project update, you know that this past summer was one of the toughest in Pakistan history. Schools, homes and crops were washed away, a fifth of the country was under water, and more than a million people were displaced due to the flooding which has been estimated to be worse than hurricane Katrina, the Haiti earthquake, and the Indian Ocean tsunami combined.

Although the floods have delayed some of our operations and increased our costs, we are committed to continue to provide access to education and skill building. We have utilized funding to purchase generators necessary to enable women to utilize electricity and any machinery throughout the frequent power outages. We plan to pilot the program with one or two different types of products. The last few months we have collected prototypes of embellished fabric and clothing and have been busy securing end market linkages and strategic relationships that will aid in the success of this vocational program.

The Executive Director, Silbi Stainton, and I visited our field office team in October and are pleased to announce a formal partnership with local organization, IKI Foundation. They are currently operating in Pakistan Administered Kashmir and have several successful vocational centers. We plan to work with them to strengthen existing programs and expand best practices for new vocational centers in the Punjab.

MDF would sincerely like to thank all of our donors and supporters. 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 so that we may all have a more secure and rich 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 info@marshalldirectfund.org or +01 (970) 963-3150. Learn more about our activities by visiting our website at www.marshalldirectfund.org

Sewing
Sewing
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