Dear Girls Ed Pakistan Supporters,
Thank you for your continued support. This month, Safeer Ullah Khan of Bedari, the Pakistani women and girls’ rights organization and Girls Ed partner, stopped in Denver to visit with GEI board members and co-founder Lizzy Scully. Safeer was in the United States to participate in the International Volunteers Leader Program sponsored by the U.S. State Department.
Although Girls Ed has partnered with Bedari and worked with Safeer since 2009, it was the first face-to-face meeting with him. Safeer shared much information about the state of girls’ education in Pakistan, but perhaps most striking was the effect of the GEI/Bedari partnership on the lives of 30 girls in Laphi, an agricultural town of 3,500 people in north-central Pakistan.
Before the partnership began, no girl in Laphi had ever attended secondary school. Most girls would get married before their 16th birthday and begin their own large families — the average is seven children per woman in Laphi.
Some men in the village were against educating girls, fearing the girls would become disrespectful to their elders. Also, the scholarships, which some in Laphi saw only as charity, were not initially welcome by the proud residents.
Three years later, there have been significant changes. Ten girls in the village have completed their secondary education, with 30 girls currently attending secondary school. Twenty-two of those girls are sponsored by Girls Ed. The other eight? Their families are now paying for their daughters’ expenses, which speaks volumes about the change in attitude towards girls and secondary education.
Our thanks to Safeer Ullah Khan for traveling to Denver to update us on Bedari‘s efforts on behalf of our Laphi girls. It’s always inspirational to meet an individual who is so committed to the rights and education of women and girls in under-developed parts of the world.
Girls Ed is pleased to be working with Safeer and Bedari to change not only the lives of these 30 girls, but to help create a larger, positive trend towards girls’ education in Pakistan. And, we are pleased to have so many supporters. It is through your caring and generosity that Girls Ed is able to work with Safeer and Bedari to continue to bring educational opportunities and their benefits to these girls in Pakistan.
Dear Girls Ed Supporters,
Thank you for your continuing support. We were especially excited to be able to share with the girls the overwhelming number of you who responded with new and increased donations after the attack on Malala Yousafzai; a clear signal to them that we will continue to support their courageous endeavors to move themselves and their communities forward. Although her road to recovery will be long, Malala's strong spirit is apparent in her continually improving condition.
We are happy to report that the girls in Laphi and Sar Kalan have experienced no threats to or interference in their studies. Further, as our local contact, Bedari, reports, "[A]n overwhelming majority of the people of Pakistan is in favor of girls education and has condemned the cowardly attack on Malala." Unfortunately, educating girls in countries like Pakistan remains a challenge in overcoming pre-established norms and cultural bias. Mainstream education of girls is not likely to occur anytime in the near future.
With your support, though, Girls Ed will continue to provide assistance to those families in Pakistan that see the value of an education for all of their children, male or female. We will help to provide the economic resources not available to girls through the Pakistani government so that they can attain a better future for themselves and their communities.
Loni Riley, Board Member GEI
Dear Girls Ed Pakistan Project Supporters,
I am happy to report that the girls continue to prosper in their studies. In a recent update from our local contact in Pakistan, Bedari, we learned that all of the girls passed their annual exams at the end of this past school semester! Each of them has now advanced to the next grade, two of them having graduated.
Bedari continues to make sure that the girls receive a well-rounded education through regular monthly meetings in which they are guided through discussions on such topics as health and hygiene, communication skills, and gender issues. Each of these are subjects that for cultural reasons would typically not be part of a formal education, but are all so very vital to the true success of these girls as they strive for a better future. Bedari reports that the girls have come to look forward to these meetings and are active participants.
We look forward to sharing with you in our next project update profiles of some of the girls as they have progressed through the program. Your continued support is truly changing lives!
I am happy to report that our 30 students continue to progress in their academic pursuits; thanks to you! With your continued support, we fully expect to see each of them successfully through to the completion of her studies.
The benefits of an education for girls in Pakistan is immense and we continue to receive requests to sponsor additional students. As funding comes in, we will do our best to reach more and more girls bringing to their communities hope for a better future.
Thank you again!
Dear Girls Ed Pakistan project supporters,
Thank you for your assistance in helping our 30 girls in Pakistan continue their secondary education. Through your generosity we have almost reached our funding goal for this project--just a few more donations and we will be over the top!
Our local partner in Pakistan, Bedari, shared in their fall newsletter just how instrumental your funding assistance has been in the education, and thereby the future for these 30 girls and their communities. Without financial support for tuition, books, and uniforms, as well as necessary transport from the remote villages of Laphi and Sarkalan to the nearest secondary school 10 kilometers away, most of these girls would not be able to continue their studies. Safeer Ullah Khan of Bedari reminds us of the unfortunate reality for girls growing up without an education in Pakistan -- "These girls neither have a great childhood nor can they have high hopes about their future... They are extremely vulnerable to child labor and teenage marriages."
However, because of the generous support of people like you, the reality for these girls, as well as for Laphi and Sarkalan, is much more promising. As one local community member proudly points out-- "[T]hese two small villages will soon have 30 educated families."
Thank you again for your invaluable assistance and best wishes in the New Year!
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Member, Board of Directors