Schools: Educating underserved youth in Pakistan

by Marshall Direct Fund Vetted since 2010 Top Ranked Effective Nonprofit

Education is an essential right;  all children have the right to attend school and benefit from the same opportunities to build a future. In Pakistan, more than 65% of the population lives on less than $1 a day and has the highest out of school population in the world, around 25 million school-aged children.

One of the most important celebrations we had at our schools was International Child Rights Day. The United Nations Universal Children's Day was established in 1954 and is celebrated on November 20th each year to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children's welfare.

In Pakistan we spent the day celebrating with the students by creating drawings and posters on what International Child Rights Days means to them. Many expressed that they wanted to share with other children their age that it is their right to attend school. They discussed how important it is that they are in school and how without access to education they "would be stuck in domestic labor, married young, or forced to beg on the street."

Thank you for supporting our students to continue their education! 

The power of the pencil!
The power of the pencil!

During my recent trip to Pakistan in November, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the students and teachers in our schools were experiencing impacts that we didn’t expect when we first started the program 10 years ago. I discovered that many of our young girls (around 60%), due to their enrollment in school, have had their (early and forced) marriages delayed by their parents. The families have found value in having the girls attend school and see how they are shaping their own independent futures that will create incomes for their own households. They are now not in a rush to marry them off since they do not want the same future of dependence and struggle for their daughters that many of them have experienced.

I also found that around 65% of our students were also not working full time since they were in school. This means a huge reduction in forced child labor and a lifetime of low wage earning. The students are motivated to learn and work towards a brighter future with a career and the power to decide what jobs they want to do.

The teachers themselves have reported positive impacts in their lives as a result of their teaching at the schools. Due to the training they receive and the quality of the education they provide, the students' parents, their own families, and the communities have a lot of respect for them. The parents seek out the advice of the teachers on matters concerning the students and the teachers are able to advocate on behalf of the students best interest if need be.

Thank you to all who support these communities, students and teachers.

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

Girls in School
Girls in School

The schools began summer break in June, but the first half of the year was a productive one. This year the schools have been upgraded to Class 8. The total strength of students in Barakahu and Sheikhupura schools currently is 327 (BK:160 and SKP:167) Used textbooks were donated by Islamabad Model School, Sitara Market, Islamabad. Notebooks and uniforms for the current year were donated by our generous donors.

Gogi Studios in collaboration with STEER( Society for Tolerance, Education through Entertainment and Recreation) donated social awareness comic books on issues such as tolerance, girl education, safety, unity and saving the environment. The schools received 300 sets, each child receiving a set of seven books Shaoor Society from AIR University supplied 198 notebook, school bags and uniforms to 33 students between the ages of 5 to 9. The Society works for the social and moral uplift of the community.

Over 20 million school aged kids in Pakistan are not in school, that’s one fifth of the out-of-school population in the entire world. In rural communities, the literacy rate for women and girls is 14%. In a country where over 75% of the population lives in poverty, most kids only dream of going to school. Education provides them with opportunities to learn to read, write, think critically, and have job prospects. Thank you for making a meaningful difference in the lives of so many!

Proud recipient of an award given at Results Day
Proud recipient of an award given at Results Day
MDF students completed exams and celebrated student achievements last week. Accolades for academic performance and citizenship were awarded. Results day is a highlight of the year for the staff and students. Trophies were donated and a moment shared to give thanks to the donors like you who make education for these kids and communities possible. 
As we discuss and lament the atrocities taking place in Syria, we are renewed in our inspiration to work diligently to overcome the vulnerabilities that lead to war. Thank you for your support in addressing the systemic issues that lead to poverty and conflict in regions like Pakistan that are instrumental to global security. Anything done once conflict has escalated is treating symptoms, in order to avoid the ailment, access to quality education that lead to critical thinking and economic opportunities is imperative. 

If you would like to start a MDF chapter or conduct an activity or invite a MDF representative to your community, we have a toolkit with choose your own adventure activities that we would gladly share with you. Reach us at or at +01(970)963-3150. Thank you so much for being a part of the solution! Thank you for all that you do. 

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Organization Information

Marshall Direct Fund

Location: Aspen, CO - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Jodi Fischer
Program Director
Aspen, CO United States

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