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 email@example.com or +01 (970) 963-3150. Learn more about our activities by visiting our website at www.marshalldirectfund.org.
This past summer has been one of the toughest in Pakistan history, in large part due to the disastrous floods that have affected the entire country. Schools, homes and crops have washed away and more than a million people have been displaced. Extremist organizations are capitalizing on slow international response 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, and alleviate poverty.
Generally, MDF schools are closed from mid-June to mid-August. However, this year the continuous rains caused a nearby stream to overflow and flood one of the schools and its basement. This and the regional declaration by the government to close schools required that we delay opening MDF schools until mid-September. There was also an electric failure and damage caused to several computers - this resulted in a setback for both teachers and students, and has delayed our ability to launch the vocational education program. We are fortunate that the damage was not worse. We are pleased to announce however, that schools re-opened mid September! Unfortunately, due to inflation, we need to do additional fundraising to ensure that we are able to offer youth healthy meals, purchase new uniforms, shoes, stationary, text books, notebooks, and kitchen supplies. We continue to build upon the infrastructure and develop relevant partnership so that we can launch the vocational education program this year.
More and more families in the communities that we operate want to send their children to our schools and many families are excited at the prospect of the vocational program. Unfortunately in our primary education program there is more demand and applications submitted than we can currently accommodate. Despite the challenges associated with the flood and additional funding to grow, one of our schools expanded to admit a class of 25 students for nursery aged students (3 to 5 yrs.). At another school we expanded to include more incoming students for grade 4 and 5. New and returning students are happy to be in school. Executive Director and Project Director are looking forward to seeing them and re-connecting with teachers and staff in a few weeks. We will be collecting prototypes of the embellished fabric and clothing for the vocational program so that we can create additional market linkages to launch the program.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or +01 (970) 963-3150.
Today, Pakistan is coping with external problems such as being one of the epicenters of conflict, threats and extremism as well as internal issues of poverty, illiteracy, terrorism, and recruitment of child soldiers by the Taliban and extremist organizations. Marshall Direct Fund seeks to reverse the trends from within, through hope in a future built through education and economic opportunities.
Research shows that giving girls a formal education through at least the fifth grade level lowers infant mortality rate, reduces population expansion, and improves basic health. A woman who has had just a few years of schooling is much more likely to send her own children to school. Therefore, MDF provides mothers skills and training for producing clothing and embellished goods in order to launch successful businesses, send their children to school, and lift their families out of poverty.
Thanks to your support MDF received $9,195 from 69 donations between April and June 2010, of which $2,400 was invested towards the purchase of back up energy resources for our existing schools. Consistent power is imperative for the vocational program which utilizes industrial sewing machines, lighting and other facilities. The textile industry is the backbone of Pakistan’s economy as it contributes significantly to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), exports and employment. The remaining amount will be spent on necessary training, equipment and materials for the vocational centers.
Furthermore, MDF has identified several market linkages and key participants that will enable the vocational program to be successful. We have received commitments from raw product providers and end market buyers, i.e. national Pakistani and American sellers who are interested in the products. Women are actively generating samples for stores at which point store owners can identify and order what they like such that the amount ensures the balance in demand and supply without the risk of surplus.
MDF would sincerely like to thank each of its donors and all its supporters for their contributions. Most importantly, this project is helping women in the communities we work to develop tools necessary to launch successful businesses, generate income, send their children to school and lift their families and communities out of poverty, thereby enriching their quality of life and security. Please help us generate awareness - Become a fan of our Facebook page, join us on Twitter, and share with your networks.
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