Dear Girls Education International supporters,
Thank you for helping to give 30 girls in Laphi and Sar Kalan books, uniforms, and transportation to attend school at Government Secondary School Buchal Kalan, district Chakwal, Pakistan!
March is the month of annual exams in Pakistan and students in grades 1 through 10 usually take their exams. Results are then reported, and the students are promoted to the next grade if they pass. All 30 of the girls we support took their exams and ALL OF THEM PASSED THEIR EXAMS AND HAVE BEEN PROMOTED TO THE NEXT GRADE.
TWO OF OUR GIRLS PLACED FIRST in their respective classes in the annual exams. I hope you read our May project report and our story about Zofishan, one of the girls our program is supporting. I am pleased to tell you that Zofishan placed 1st in her 6th grade class and has been promoted to 7th grade. Another of our girls, Adila, also placed first in her 8th grade class. Adila also took the required external exam, conducted by the district education department and we are anxiously awaiting her results.
Understanding the Examination System in Pakistan: I have learned a lot about the examination system in Pakistan over the past year. For grades 6 and 7, the school holds internal exams and promotes students to the next grade. However, additional external examinations are held by the district examination department for grade 8 and the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education for grades 9 through 12. Internal exams usually start on March 1st each year and end by March 20th. The relevant authority decides the dates for external exams and announces the results at its own convenience.
Thank you so much for continuing to provide support to our girls in Pakistan and giving them this opportunity to continue their education!
Our partner agency, Bedari, sent a report on Zofishan, one of the girls our program is supporting. Excerpts are below (the full report is on our website www.girlsed.org). This report is translated as close to Zofishan’s words as we could get it:
After three years, I am back in school – Zofishan
“My name is Zofishan and I am studying in 6th grade. I have 5 brothers and one sister. All my brothers are studying in various grades. However, my eldest sister Fatima is not going to school. I, too, was not going to school for three years.
I had studied up to grade 5 in our village school. But we do not have a secondary school in our village, and the nearest secondary school is 14 kilometers away from our home. We could not afford to pay the huge amount of fare charged by the only local van available.
It was such a sad time of my life. I had to stay at home, and help my mother in household chores, or would go out with my mother to the jungle to collect wood for selling it in the local market. My father has a small herd of cattle. He takes them to jungle for grazing and spends almost the whole day there. The time was passing and I was losing hope of joining my school again. I would borrow my elder brother’s books, and study them. My brother is very loving. He would teach me as much as possible.
One day a volunteer came to our village and talked to the village elders for identifying girls who wanted to study up to secondary level. When I heard that, I asked my brother to meet the volunteer and get my name registered for the scholarship. I was very excited and prayed all the time for getting selected. I heard from my brother that there were 21 girls registered for scholarships. And finally the good news came. I came to know that all the 21 girls were given scholarship including myself.
By Therese Thompson - Executive Director
Our partner agency, Bedari, reports that all 30 girls have remained enrolled in school and that the van hired to transport them to and from their villages and the school is running smoothly. Two girls, Sidra and Khadija, have passed their regular exams and have been promoted to the next class – class 10. The rest of the girls will be taking exams in March 2011.
Public schools in Pakistan are not good at organizing extracurricular activities, so Bedari has been holding a monthly meeting with all the 30 girls in the village. This meeting has two objectives:
In these meetings, the girls sing songs, share jokes, recite their favorite poetry etc. In the next year, Bedari wants to organize self-growth sessions for these girls to provide them training in basic life skills – communications skills, confidence building exercises, and an understating of gender issues.
Safeer Ullah Khan, our project officer with Bedari, described only one challenge in his recent project report to Girls Ed:
"We are having a difficult time getting progress reports from the school. The Head Teacher at the school has not been cooperating with Bedari staff. We have held meetings with the senior officials of the district education department, and have managed to get some information. However, it is still not easy to get progress reports from her.”
Safeer's report reminds me of why we believe that Girls Ed has a unique program service model with great potential for success - we partner with local organizations that already work in the regions we serve. These local organizations already have relationships and infrastructure in the rural communities that allow us to maximize existing resources through strategic partnerships, while respecting existing culture and values. They understand the culture/politics and have staff available to mitigate any unforeseen challenges. We are confident that the challenge in obtaining progress reports will improve as Bedari’s staff builds trust with the school administrators and they see the benefits of the program.
Thank you for helping to give 30 girls in Laphi and Sarkalan books, uniforms, and transportation to attend school at Government Secondary School Buchal Kalan, district Chakwal, Pakistan!
Our partner agency, Bedari, reports that the girls have been successfully enrolled in school and Bedari has purchased and provided them with their uniforms, shoes, and books. Bedari has also hired a wagon to provide pick up and drop off service for the girls between school and their homes. The girls are attending their classes and are very happy to have restarted their studies.
Safeer Ullah Khan, our project officer with Bedari, reminds us in his report to Girls Ed of the challenges faced in convincing the parents of some of the girls to allow them to receive support:
"Sharing this project with the parents of the identified girls was a challenging job, as girls’ education is not a priority. Some of the parents quickly agreed to receive support. However, there were others who did not like the idea for various reasons. The most important reason was cultural. Charity is not accepted by the people, and those who receive charity are looked down upon. Bedari did not present this support as a charity work. We presented it as scholarship for those girls who have successfully completed their primary education."
Safeer's report reminds me of why we believe that Girls Ed has a unique program service model with great potential for success - we partner with local organizations that already work in the regions we serve. These local organizations already have relationships and infrastructure in the rural communities that allow us to maximize existing resources through strategic partnerships, while respecting existing culture and values.
With the holiday giving season upon us, we hope that you will consider Girls Education International for your charitable giving. You can also make a donation as a holiday gift in honor of a family member, friend, or even a secret santa through Globalgiving (choose "give a gift in honor of" on our project page) and send a holiday card to the honoree through Globalgiving or your home computer.
On behalf of the Girls Education International Board of Directors, I wish you a happy holiday season and all the best for 2011 ! With much appreciation, Therese Thompson, Executive Director Girls Education International
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