Dear Girls Ed Supporters,
We continue to be touched by your generosity and loyalty! Please take a moment to read this update, then see how you can increase your impact on the Youth Spark Bonus Giving Day - Today June 25th! (see below)
Girls Education International, in partnership with Bedari, is reaching more and more girls in Pakistan! Thanks to the support we've been receiving from donors and those who simply spread the word, we were able to expand our reach in Pakistan. In a recent report, we shared the news that the Bedari Communications Manager, Safeer Ullah Khan was exploring the potential for expansion of girls education initiatives in new villages.
On June 9th, Bedari moved into phase 2 of "Girls Education beyond Primary Level". Mr. Abdul Waheed, District Officer of Secondary Education was the chief guest at the occasion. At the launch ceremony, 70 girls from 5 remote villages – Thirchak, Natto Wala, Maira Aemah, Chakki Rangpur, and Hattar – were awarded scholarships. The ceremony was attended by the notables of the area including Mr. Abdul Waheed, Master Ghulam Ali, Executive Director of Sarban, members of child protection committees, parents of the selected girls, and representatives of other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community based organizations (CBOs).
The selected girls had performed really well in their studies, and come from underprivileged families. Bedari will be bearing the cost of the girls' travel to and from school. The support will continue until they complete their secondary or higher secondary education. Girls Education International is providing financial support to alleviate the burden of school fees and transportation costs.
This project was conceived of by our partner, Bedari back in 2006, and it was piloted it in a remote village in district Chakwal. After the successful completion of pilot phase, the project launched in two more villages – Laphi and Sarkalan – in tehsil Kalar Kahar, district Chakwal. Girls Ed has been happy to join Bedari in supporting 30 girls who received scholarships and continued their studies up to secondary or higher secondary level.
This project is part of Bedari’s efforts to ensure girls’ rights to education, and elimination of child marriages. Girls Education Internation is grateful for your support and we hope that you will continue to contribute, spread the word, and join us as we empower these young women through education!
Join us for Youth Spark Bonus Giving Day ... All donations made to this project between 12pm and Midnight (EST) on Wednesday, June 25th (Today!) will be matched up to 100% for donations of $10 - $1000 per donor, per project! Plus, the organization who raises the most will earn an additional $2500. And the organization with the most unique donors will get an additional $2500! Can you help us support more girls and double your dollar while you're at it!! June 25th, 12 pm .... Donate - every bit counts.
The Girls Ed Team & Bedari
Dear Girls Education Supporters,
We are excited to share a follow up about one of our scholarship recipients, Awatif Aslam. Below is the story, as told by one of our our in-country partners, Safeer Ullah Khan. It's the whole story from the beginning to the exciting new development in Awatif's life! Her life has been changed thanks to having earned an education, something made possible thanks to supporters like you. We hope you feel your impact!
Awatif wanted to study further but her parents had other plans for her. As they could not afford to keep her in school, they had selected a groom for her and wanted to marry her off as soon as possible so that they could have one less mouth to feed. Awatif was in deep trouble and just did not know if there was any way out of this difficult situation.
That was the time when Bedari, with support from Girls Education International, announced a scholarship program for girls who had completed thier primary education in Laphi – Awatif’s village. She applied for the program and got selected. The next step was to convince her parents to delay her marriage and let her continue with her education. It was a difficult part but the local volunteer at Bedari pulled the right strings, i.e. discussed the matter with elderly people of the community who, then, talked to Awatif’s parents, and got their consent. In a matter of a few weeks, all the formalities were completed, and she was back in school.
She made the most of the opportunity, cleared her secondary school exam and requested Bedari for support for another two years to do her higher secondary certificate - necessary for graduation. Bedari, seeing her passion, decided to continue the support, which resulted in successful completion of her higher secondary level education as well.
Support from Bedari came to an end at that point. But Awatif’s passion for further education had swelled even further. She was again in a difficult situation. Seeing her passion, her family got together and discussed different options. The largest chunk of expenditure on her education was actually on her daily travel from her village to her college in the nearby town. If that expense could be avoided, the family could afford to continue her education (Bedari was paying for her transportation before).
At that point, her grandmother stepped in. She lived in the same town near Awatif’s prospective College. The Grandmother offered her home to Awatif, so she did not have to take a van daily but could walk to and from college. Awatif happily accepted her offer. She started living with her grandmother. Her uncle provided her with books. She walked to her college daily and visited her parents on weekends. In another two years, she graduated!
And now for the exciting new development ...
She is now 20 years old and ready to take up the responsibilities of married life. However, life presented her with another opportunity. An NGO wanted to establish an adult literacy center in the neighboring village, and was looking for a teacher. As it failed to find a well-educated female teacher in that village, it started looking for one in the neighboring village, and came to know about Awatif. She was immediately hired and sent for basic training in adult literacy. She has completed her training and is now teaching at the Adult Literacy Center. It is difficult for her to hide her joy. Now she is completely ready to take up the responsibilities of married life.
We are just thrilled for Awatif. She was able to enjoy her youth, study, and acquire a paying job as an educator! Not only has her life been changed, but the generosity of her grandmother to help her continue her studies shows that education is something to be cherished. When communities see the potential of education to bring prosperity and happiness into the lives of young women, they will continue to fight for each girl's right to have equal access to quality education. And we all know that will change the world!
Congratulations, Awatif! And thank you Girls Ed supporters!!
Please share this story and the work we are all doing together by bringing this up in conversation or using the sharing buttons below. Encourage friends and family to make a contribution so that we can continue to grow our programs and support many more young women like Awatif. The gratitude is ever flowing!
The Girls Ed Team
Thank you so much for your continued support of our project in Pakistan. Through your assistance we have been able to provide ongoing support for the 30 girls in Laphi, some of whom have now graduated while still others no longer need our financial assistance, having garnered support from their families who have seen the merits of an education!
As we mentioned in previous reports, we have been looking into expanding our reach in Pakistan to include girls from additional villages. Our local partner, Bedari, undertook a process this past fall to examine the needs and receptiveness of other villages within the area. Some of the primary criteria that Bedari included in its assessment were the feasbility of attending secondary school as determined through looking at the distance to the nearest school, the need of the girls as determined by the extent of poverty of the village, the number of girls ready and interested in pursuing a secondary education and the support that family, elders and the overall community would provide.
As Bedari finalizes its village selection process, Girls Ed will provide its input and determine if we are able to support these additional girls. With your help, we hope to be able to expand our efforts and work with Bedari to assist the girls from the selected villages attain a secondary school education. We will provide you with continued updates as program changes are solidified.
Dear Girls Ed Pakistan Project Supporters,
I want to share with you a special promotion that is occurring right now through the Safer World Fund for our Pakistan project. Until the matching funds are depleted, Safer World Fund will match donations up to 50% for donations up to $2,000 per project per donor. You don't need to do anything special, just submit your contribution as usual, although the sooner the better if you would like to take advantage of this opportunity to have even more impact!
I'm pleased to report that all the GEI-sponsored girls have taken their exams and have been promoted to the next grade!
Here’s the status, if you’re keeping track:
Five girls were promoted to Grade 8
Seventeen girls were promoted to Grade 9
Three girls were promoted to Grade 10
One girl was promoted to Grade 11
Two girls were promoted to Grade 12
In our discussions with Bedari, Girls Ed is planning to expand its educational assistance into other regions within Pakistan while continuing to support the 30 original students until they have completed their secondary education. Your continued support will allow us to broaden our reach to these additional girls. We will work with Bedari to determine where our efforts will be most beneficial and bring you the updates as plans develop.
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.
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