May 4, 2011

May 2011 Girls Ed Pakistan Project Report

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!    

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.

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Feb 24, 2011

February 2011 Girls Ed Liberia project update

Dear Girls Education International supporters,

Thank you for helping to give 47 girls in Bong and Margibi Counties, Liberia, a year of schooling!

Fundraising for this project has been slow so far, and we have had to pull funds from our general operating fund to make our first 2011 payment to our partner agency, Common Ground Society, this month. 

Girls Ed has been funding education for these girls since 2008, and Common Ground Society reports that all 47 girls have remained enrolled in school and that a group of 10 high school seniors (who were sophomores when we started the scholarship program) will be graduating this spring.  We are honored to be a part of these bright girls' lives!

In his end of year report to Girls Education International, Marvin Garbeh Davis, our project officer with Common Ground Society, described conditions in Liberia with regard to educating girls:  "In Liberia there are many social, cultural and economic barriers to girls’ schooling, both for enrolling and staying in school.  Parents see limited economic benefits to educating girls. Daughters attending school are less available to help with household chores and childcare for younger siblings. Cultural norms are that sons support parents in old age while girls marry out and leave their parents.

The issue of poverty is a major hindrance. Schooling usually involves substantial sums for fees, books, uniforms and transportation. When family resources are limited, parents usually give higher priority to sons. Decisions about schooling for girls are often influenced by social norms related to sexuality and marriage. In traditional societies where chastity is highly valued, parents may be reluctant to allow girls to travel to school and be taught by male teachers. "

Marvin'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. 

Thank you so much for continuing to provide support to our girls in Liberia and giving them this opportunity to continue their education!

Feb 7, 2011

February 2011 Girls Ed Pakistan project update

February 2011 update on Girls Ed Pakistan project

By Therese Thompson - Executive Director

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!    

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:

  1. Get updates from the girls about their schooling, any problems they are facing, and learn about their issues.
  2. Provide them a platform for extracurricular activities.

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 so much for continuing to provide support to our girls in Pakistan and giving them this opportunity to continue their education!

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