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Mar 26, 2018

Education transforms a Pakistani village

BRAC students are eager to participate in class
BRAC students are eager to participate in class

Deep in the arid plains of the Sindh province of Pakistan sits the tiny village of Massoo Bhutto, comprised of only 50 houses. Although small in size, the village is a community of diverse cultures.

But this small village faces many challenges.

Most families’ livelihoods rely primarily on agriculture and animal rearing, and the arid climate often leads to inconsistent crop yields and income instability.

The village’s severely underdeveloped infrastructure exacerbates the problem. Most rural homes lack access to basic necessities like sanitation, electricity, and medical facilities.

Particularly shocking is the lack of access to education in the community. Even in a country where only half of children reach the last grade of primary school, Massoo Bhutto stands out. In a village of 600 people, there is only one government primary school with limited resources – and it is inaccessible to many children living in rural areas.

Harnessing the diversity of the village, BRAC has established a new primary school that brings together families from across the community and emphasizes the importance of education for their children, especially their daughters.

As the first organization to reach Masso Bhutto with education services, BRAC has trained female teachers with innovative teaching methodologies that prepare students for their transitions into secondary school and beyond.

Already, the new school has sparked renewed hope for Masso Bhutto. Children who were out of school and vulnerable to drug abuse, gambling, and violence now have a safe environment to learn and grow. In a society where men are often valued above women, girls in particular are being empowered with the confidence to succeed. These educated children will have a transformative impact on their community.

The school in Masso Bhutto is only one of nearly 1,500 schools that BRAC has established across Pakistan thus far. BRAC schools reach more than 40,000 Pakistani students, 65 percent girls. Over the next five years, BRAC hopes to increase this number to one million children enrolled in quality primary education programs across the country.

Thanks to generous donors like you, these education initiatives across Pakistan are making a big impact and supporting the country in achieving universal enrollment and gender parity in primary education. Thank you for your continued support.

BRAC primary school students learn through play
BRAC primary school students learn through play


Feb 15, 2018

Extracurriculars provide support system for girls

Girls in a BRAC school participate in group work
Girls in a BRAC school participate in group work

Gender disparity is especially striking in Afghanistan’s education system. Afghan boys entering primary school today can expect to complete eight years of primary education, and in many cases, move onto secondary and tertiary education. In contrast, girls can expect to complete only five and a half years of primary education on average before dropping out of school.

And for many girls, education is not an option at all. In Afghanistan, 38% of school age children remain out of school, the majority of whom are girls.

However, thanks to generous supporters, BRAC renewed its girls education project last spring, and as a result, continues to improve the educational outlook for Afghanistan’s most marginalized girls in ten provinces.

We also continue to innovate. In its initial phase, the girls education project emphasized community-based primary education for girls. But as more and more girls graduate from these primary schools, BRAC is now placing an additional emphasis on transitioning these girls into a quality secondary education.

To facilitate gender equity as this level, BRAC will establish and operate hundreds of community-based secondary schools, expanding on its successful model for primary schools.

BRAC also recognizes the importance of skills training for youth, and it will begin to transition  girls into vocational training programs and government secondary schools. In government schools, it is focused on building the capacity of teachers to address educational inequities and support girls with a relevant and quality education.

For girls participating in these varied forms of secondary education, BRAC has also introduced complementary extracurricular activities and mentoring designed to empower girls with the resources and confidence to succeed.

One such example is our Adolescent Reading Centers, which provide a support system and safe space for girls as they transition into secondary school, whether that be at a community-based school, government school, or vocational center.

Adolescent reading centers are more than just a place for adolescent girls to read. They function as safe spaces where girls can socialize with their peers; participate in activities like debate and magazine club; learn income-generating livelihood skills in areas like tailoring, embroidery, and gardening; develop leadership skills; and gain confidence and self-esteem.

To date, more than 2,500 girls regularly meet at 100 adolescent reading centers in Afghanistan. Of this group, nearly half have participated in life skills or livelihood training. And every girl reached by these centers can access this support system to continue learning.

We thank you for your continued support in our quest to provide all Afghan girls with a quality education. Together, we can continue to improve girls chances of completing secondary education programs and reaching their full potential.

Adolescent reading centers provide support system
Adolescent reading centers provide support system


Feb 15, 2018

BRAC looks to long-term solutions for the Rohingya

The makeshift settlements in Cox
The makeshift settlements in Cox's Bazar

Over 688,000 forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals have arrived in Bangladesh since August 25, when violence accelerated in Myanmar, bringing the total population of Rohingya in Bangladesh to around one million.

The largest concentration of Rohingya people is in the makeshift settlements of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, and these people require ongoing humanitarian services to address their basic needs.

Many challenges persist in the camps. The overcrowded, makeshift settlements are vulnerable to disease, fire, landslides, and cyclones. Outbreaks of illnesses like cholera, diphtheria, and diarrheal disease have already claimed lives. Clean water shortages, a lack of proper sanitation facilities, and malnutrition compound these health issues.

Additionally, children urgently need learning opportunities and safeguards for their protection. Women and adolescent girls remain at risk of sexual and gender-based violence in the crowded, fluid context of the camps.

BRAC has one of the largest responses of any organization, and has already reached nearly 600,000 new arrivals in Cox’s Bazar. We are implementing a wide variety of programs to ensure that the critical needs of the population are met and their dignity is protected.

Key achievements to date include:

  • Providing emergency shelter for over 200,000 households.
  • Training community mobilization volunteers to visit nearly 100,000 households and disseminate lifesaving information on water, sanitation, hygiene, health, nutrition, and protection.
  • Running safe spaces and learning centers for more than 63,000 children.
  • Supplying clean water for more than 430,000 people through 1,500 tube wells.
  • Ensuring access to sanitation for over 560,000 people by installing and desludging latrines.
  • Prioritizing services for women and girls and setting up more than 4,500 gender-specific bathing areas to ensure they can bathe safely.
  • Administering crucial health services to more than 900,000 patients.
  • Educating 130,000 people about diphtheria and vaccinating almost 170,000 children against the disease.
  • Identifying 9,000 pregnant women requiring specialized care and delivering nearly 700 babies.

However, amid this progress, new challenges have arisen.

Within the host and Rohingya communities, there is a desire for self-reliance and community-level interventions. These include attention to governance systems within the camps, as well as efforts to reduce tension between the Rohingya and the host community through positive trade or market interactions and social relationships.

With the crisis now entering its sixth month, the dynamics of the situation have shifted. In addition to responding to the immediate needs of the host community, BRAC is orienting its efforts towards finding long term solutions for the Rohingya and host communities.

Much more work is needed to create a safe, livable environment within the camps and in the surrounding areas, and the crisis will not soon end. Please share our work with others so that we can continue to scale up our response efforts.

For the latest situation report on our work in Cox’s Bazar, please refer to the attached document. Thank you for your continued support.

A BRAC child friendly space in Cox
A BRAC child friendly space in Cox's Bazar


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