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Schools: Educating underserved youth in Pakistan

by Marshall Direct Fund
Schools: Educating underserved youth in Pakistan
Schools: Educating underserved youth in Pakistan
Schools: Educating underserved youth in Pakistan
Schools: Educating underserved youth in Pakistan
Schools: Educating underserved youth in Pakistan
Schools: Educating underserved youth in Pakistan
Schools: Educating underserved youth in Pakistan
Schools: Educating underserved youth in Pakistan
Schools: Educating underserved youth in Pakistan
Schools: Educating underserved youth in Pakistan
Schools: Educating underserved youth in Pakistan
Schools: Educating underserved youth in Pakistan
Schools: Educating underserved youth in Pakistan
Schools: Educating underserved youth in Pakistan
Schools: Educating underserved youth in Pakistan
Schools: Educating underserved youth in Pakistan
Girls hard at work
Girls hard at work

Moqah Foundation, our Pakistani partner, is now partnering with Girl Rising to implement their "Explore More" program in our schools in Pakistan. The Explore More activities and sessions are designed to build a community of trust, help young children explore their inner strengths, be aware of their rights, and transcend the gender stereotypes to realize their dreams and aspirations.

We are two months into the collaboration between Moqah Foundation and Girl Rising. Our students have been attending weekly sessions that has resulted in positive attitudinal change.For example, one of our 9th graders’ sibling, Senam, spoke about his two sisters Summaiya and Bushra who have never stepped out of their household other than coming to the school. Women in Senam, Summaya and Bushra’s family are mostly illiterate and live under highly traditional and conservative social structure, which is marked by its patriarchal male dominance and religious control. Now Senam talks about how he wants to help change the world for his sisters and believes that they have the right to determine their destiny. His first step in this direction was convincing his older brother to sign the permission letter for his sisters to join a school trip to another local school’s sports day event. It was a life time experience for the two girls!

Marshall Direct Fund's is currently transitioning responsibility of program management and fundraising to the local Pakistani organization you helped us create in 2014, Moqah Foundation. This means that your investment will now go even further in changing and improving lives for years to come. We hope you will continue to support the programs you created by donating directly to Moqah Foundation on their GlobalGiving Page. Your donation is tax-deductible and secure.

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Introducing Moqah Foundation- the sustainable organization you helped build!

We are excited to announce that Marshall Direct Fund is celebrating the transition of responsibility to our local Pakistani Partner, Moqah Foundation. As philanthropists we strive to invest in creating sustainable change as opposed to a charity model that perpetuates dependence.

In 2014, in order to begin the process of building local sustainability and empower local Pakistanis to take on the work of Marshall Direct Fund, we created a locally registered NGO called Moqah Foundation, which means "opportunity" in Urdu. In order to more efficiently implement our programs and fund raise in Pakistan, it was necessary to create a local entity to manage this work. We have been working hand in hand with Moqah Foundation for the past 5 years, and this year the Moqah Foundation board expressed their desire to fully run the fundraising and program oversight on their own.

Moqah Foundation is registered under the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan and has highly audited accounts and a strong structure to move this work forward on their own. 

Please consider donating directly to the programs you created with Moqah Foundation on their GlobalGiving Page. Your investment will now go even further and create even more impact!

 

Thank you for making this sustainable change possible!!!

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Parents at the end of year awards celebration
Parents at the end of year awards celebration

With school now out for the summer, a few reflections on the past academic year:

Final exams for 5th, 8th and 9th graders were over by mid March and the students were extremely successful with a 99% pass rate. Our 5th graders did so well on the exams that when the local community received word, admissions went up by 50 children total for the next school year. Next year both schools will also add grade 10, with our first class graduating in June of 2020. With new admissions for the 2019-2020 school year, the total strength of students is at almost 400.

Through the Global Kid Connect Pen Pal Program, the upper grade students have corresponded with their pen pals in the US through letters and photos. The Power to Pakistan Club at Aspen High School is working on a fundraiser cookbook and one of the students in Aspen has set up a mobile ice cream bike in order to raise money for our student’s scholarships!

In April, we conducted a workshop on ‘Discipline in the Classroom’ for our teachers in order to guide them on how to create a respectful classroom environment. This included how to support students to learn responsibility and self-discipline. A second teacher training will be conducted in August before the classes resume after summer break.

It has been an incredibly successful school year with attendance rates and re-enrollment at its highest. We contribute this to our student’s hard work proving to the community that education is an important step in climbing out of generational poverty. We also contribute our success to our amazing teachers who work tirelessly to support our students.

Help support our 2019-2020 school year! With our increase in students we will need more support than ever! Consider donating directly to our projects through their new Global Giving page at https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/schools-educating-underserved-youth-in-pakistan/

Thank you for your continued support!

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Girls stitching a shirt in the new sewing room
Girls stitching a shirt in the new sewing room

As part of our youth education program we offer the upper grades girls a chance to start to learn vocational skills as well as the opportunity to learn more about what career opportunities exist for them post graduation from our schools.

We want to respect the local traditions and culture of our communities, while, yes, pushing the envelope in terms of building gender equity and empowering women, but also doing it in a way that does not alienate.  We have started with basic home economic skills (sewing, tailoring and stitching) with our youth because it is acceptable among their families. Through this we are able to see them grow and become more curious about what other skills they could learn. We discuss with them different career paths beyond home economics and host different professionals to come to the school to give presentations.

Once our first class graduates in June 2020 we are going to be working with the local government technical training centers, called TEVTAs, to assist us in enrolling the students. Once enrolled the girls and boys can choose from around 20 different technical skills programs. The TEVTAs we are partnering with will even be supporting our girls with a $5 a month stipend to prove to the families that the girls can already make an impact on the household income and that marriage is not needed as a solution to relieve the pressure of her being a financial burden.

 

Thank you for supporting our students on their road to a brighter future!

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Vocational Training with Upper Grade Girls
Vocational Training with Upper Grade Girls

In our schools we are happy to report that we have maintained a 98% retention rate in enrollment. Our students are staying in school and the ones who withdraw have only left due to their families moving out of town or a change in the school they attend.

This is a huge success in terms of the impact on child marriage, especially among girls. Our girls are not being removed from school when they hit “marriageable age” around Grade 5 since the families are starting to understand the positive correlation between increased years of girl’s education and future economic gains in the household.

When there is a lack of understanding among the families around the link between increased education among girls and the economic impact, families are stuck in an endless cycle of generational poverty. According to Oxfam, a “lack of education among parents and young people serves to perpetuate the practice, as it is often accentuated by poverty and limited economic opportunity. Girls are less likely than boys to be educated due to the belief that investment in a girl’s education is wasted once she marries. As a result, they lack the valuable and necessary skills to enter the labour market, thus limiting economic progress for themselves and their families.

We have been able to change behaviors around early marriage and girls’ education among families through a variety of methods. By involving our upper grade girls in vocational training the families see them develop useful skills that will lead to income generation in the near future. We have also explained to the families how all the students, upon graduation, will gain entrance into the local government vocational training center where the girls will receive a stipend to attend and skills that will directly contribute to a future income. The families see the benefit in delaying their marriages in order to increase the income of the household.

We have also been working with the girls to understand their rights around forced marriage and education. The girls themselves work hard to advocate within their families on their own behalf and many, if not all, have successfully delayed engagements from becoming full marriages. They report its hard work, but with the help of their mothers they are able to push the envelope and stay in school.

Have a wonderful holiday season and thank you all for your support in this very important work.

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Organization Information

Marshall Direct Fund

Location: Aspen, CO - USA
Website:
Project Leader:
Jodi Fischer
Program Director
Aspen, CO United States
$17,432 raised of $50,000 goal
 
58 donations
$32,568 to go
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