Sadly, Pakistan is home to around 5.6 million primary school-aged children who lack access to education. Moreover, disparities in the duration and quality of education children receive are prominent. In Pakistan, the wealthiest 20% of children receive an average of 10.5 years education--approximately nine years more education than the poorest who receive 1.99 years.
Marshall Direct Fund is working hard to provide access for these underserved children to high quality education that will allow them to develop careers and a bright future. School started August 15th with an excited bunch -enrollment is now up almost 350 girls and boys! We are adding grade 8 this year to the schools, so the students are thrilled to be able to continue their education.
We are also able to offer vocational training to 27 girls in order to develop skills in sewing. This will put them on the track to apply for government vocational training schools post graduation and offer them an opportunity to have a career path.
An interview with Ambereen*, Age 12, Grade 5 on the impacts of the school program for her perspective.
Question: How has the school impacted the other kids in the community?
Ambereen: When they saw us joining the school, many of my neighbors and relatives were curious about the school. When they found out that not only schooling was free, also uniforms and books were free, they have started to send their children to school. These kids who used to play in the streets, or worked to earn their living, are now in school. They now know that they have better opportunities in life.
Question: What would happen if they couldn’t go to school anymore?
Ambereen: If deprived of schooling, most of us will end up as street children with no future. Most parents in our community cannot bear the heavy burden of schooling. Some of us will become beggars to survive, some will have work even against their will. Our future will be bleak because without education, we can never get good and respectable jobs.
Thank you for keeping these children in school and believing in them!
*Name changed to protect identity