Send 60 Girls in Pakistan to School

by Girls Education International
Send 60 Girls in Pakistan to School
Send 60 Girls in Pakistan to School
Send 60 Girls in Pakistan to School
Send 60 Girls in Pakistan to School
Send 60 Girls in Pakistan to School
Send 60 Girls in Pakistan to School

Dear Supporter of Pakistan Project at Girls Education International,

We, here at Girls Education International, want to wish you a fantastic, fun, and rewarding holiday season with your friends and family. We have few updates from the field, filled with mostly encouraging news (with some somber notes as well).

The most recent report from the Chakwal district in Pakistan where due to your generous support, the project sends 76 girls to school, reported that 66 out of 76 of the students appeared for their annual examination. Approximately 80% of them passed the exams, with few still waiting for their results and others preparing to re-take the exams as needed. We are excited and encouraged by the girls’ progress.

During this reporting period, the project unfortunately faced few challenges as well. Predominantly the challenges involved pressures that the students receive from their families to leave school for the purpose of arranged marriage. Handful of our students were victims of this situation and were forced to drop out of school. Statistics show that 14 million girls in the world under 18 will be married just this year, that’s 38 thousand in one day, or 13 girls in the last 30 seconds (UNFPA, 2012). #1 cause of death for girls 15-19 years of age is in childbirth, not to mention the quality of life, prospect of employment and chances of their children receiving an education as well. While we cannot interfere with families and don’t wish to untangle deep woven traditions and customs of the region, we do know that every time we educate another young woman, the chances of her pressuring her own child for early marriage decreases drastically, as well as she is much more likely to encourage education for her own children.

In this season of giving we just want you to know the direct affect that your support has on those young women. It is long-lived and permanent in their lives. Every dollar that you continue to give to this low overhead organization will continue to have tremendous benefits in their lives and we can’t thank you enough for your generosity.

 

Thank you for your continuous support,

 

Tamrika Khvtisiashvili

Pakistan Project Manager


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Dear Pakistan Project Supporters,

As the new academic year begins and the students enter the classrooms again, our gratitude goes out to all of our Girl's Education International supporters that make so many girls' dreams in Pakistan turn into reality. $10 support covers transportation for one student for a full month. Having lived in Saudi Arabia, I am diligently cognisent of the role the tranportation or access to it can play for women. While there are numerous obstacles that women face in gaining education, having an ability to physically get to school is a basic need. $80 covers all expenses for four students for a month, while $240 covers all expenses for one student for a full year. The benefit the girls get from a year of education goes beyond the subjects they study. Although the knowledge they gain will hopefully help them secure jobs in the future, the daily skills they learn such as self-reliance, colaboration and critical thinkings will guide them in all spheres of their lives. Couple months down the line, we will update you with their academic progress but meanwhile we wanted to thank all of you that have made this possible.

With much gratitude,

Tamrika

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Tania photo
Tania photo

Dear Girls Ed supporter,

For this report we are so excited to share with you images and interviews directly from the field. Those are some of the girls that your generous donations support with their education in remote villages of Chakwal district of Pakistan. We asked them some questions about their lives and they delivered, giving us a glimpse into their dreams and their every day lives. We hope you enjoy getting to know them. Their dedication and spirit is truly humbling and inspiring.

Below please find the academic report of the students in the last three months. In the first quarter of the reporting period all the enrolled girls continued their routine education while the second quarter since April was dedicated to the examination period.

  1. 13 girls appeared for exams of grade 6 and 7, and all of them passed their exams; 12 girls appeared for exams for 8th grade and passed their exam successfully.
  2. 49 girls appeared for the secondary exams, and their result is awaited.
  3. 7 girls appear for their 11th grade exam in May and 11 girls will appear for 12th grade this month. Results awaiting.
  4. Last year one girl from 12th grade failed in two papers. She reappeared for those exams and passed successfully. However, one girl who failed did not reappear.

Bedari (our partner in Pakistan) while managing this project in the field also often plan self-growth workshops and exposure visits for students. However, because of lack of resources, Bedari could not plan any such activity during this reporting period. Bedari, however, ensures participation of these girls in the events of other projects during the next reporting period.

We can't thank you enough for your continous support. The impact of your involvement cannot be overestimated.

Tania photo
Tania photo
Tania photo
Tania photo
Rabbia photo
Rabbia photo
Rabbia photo
Rabbia photo
Esha photo
Esha photo
Esha photo
Esha photo

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As I write this, it is the first day of spring. Spring means re-birth, continuation and growth, recommitment to what matters. It is the time to remind ourselves what we want to keep and what we need to let go of gently. We at Girls Ed International want to thank you for staying with us, for supporting us and for believing in our mission. Your involvement with Pakistan Project means that hundreds of girls will start and/or continue their education in the remote villages in the Chakwal district. During our March campaign, and in partnership with Global Giving, we raised $18,258 from 330 donors. We are ecstatic and want to thank you from the bottom of our heart.

Despite progress in recent years, girls continue to suffer severe disadvantage and exclusion in education systems throughout their lives in many parts of the world. Providing girls with an education helps break the cycle of poverty: educated women are less likely to marry early and against their will; less likely to die in childbirth; more likely to have healthy babies; and are more likely to send their children to school. When all children have access to a quality education rooted in human rights and gender equality, it creates a ripple effect of opportunity that influences generations to come. The impact of your involvement cannot be overestimated.

We are eagerly waiting to receive an update from the students themselves, which we will share with you promptly. Meanwhile we want to thank and bid farewell to the Executive Director of Bedari (our partner organization in Pakistan), Safeer U Khan. Here is his farewell note to all of us. As we wait for the images from the field, this letter creates a great visual for us about the project. Happy reading!

A Note from the Executive Director of Bedari organization, Pakistan

Education has always been very close to my heart as I believe it is the only way to bring about a sustainable change in a person’s life. Hence, when I heard that there was some American NGO looking for a partner to work for girls’ education in Pakistan, I jumped at the opportunity.

That American NGO was Girls Education International. It is a small organization but has a dedicated team that raises funds for girls’ education and then spends those funds in Pakistan and Tanzania. We worked out the details and started off with a small project supporting 30 girls in their quest for post primary level education. There has no looking back since then. I served as project manager since 2009 till March 2017 – 8 years to be exact.

We did not change the entire world, but we did change the world of a few girls. This project has lighted up lives of scores of girls, and changed the perception of girls’ education in the communities. Girls’ education is no more an insignificant issue in the communities where we work. Parents have started taking responsibility for their daughters’ education; they have found ways to send their girls to schools.

Not a single girl was going to secondary school when we entered Laphi in 2009 – a village situated in inaccessible mountains of Salt Range nearly 50 kilometers to the South West of Chakwal city. We worked there for 5 years. When the first girl under our project completed her secondary education, a teary eyed volunteer from the village told us that it had happened after a break of 30 years that any girl from Laphi had completed secondary education. Though we discontinued our project in Laphi in 2014, the village boasts of 20 girls with secondary education, and 24 more girls are going to secondary school these days without any support from any NGO or philanthropist.

We, then, expanded our program, and moved to another 4 villages to repeat the same process. Currently, we are supporting around 90 girls in these 4 villages. So far, we have helped 84 girls to complete their education up to secondary level, 17 more girls up to higher secondary level, and 2 girls up to graduation level. (Secondary level is 10 years of education, higher secondary is 12 years, and graduation is 14 years of education in Pakistani Education System).

We have not only supported girls in going to school, this project had many additional benefits for girls. The most important of the benefits was delaying their marriages. [5.3 of the Sustainable Development Goals]. Most of these girls would have been married before celebrating their 16th birthday, but only 4 out of 130 girls were married before reaching their 18th birthday. The remaining 126 girls married after attaining the age of 18 years.

We took girls out on study tours, and it was for the first time that most of these girls stepped out of their town. They saw some historical places of their own district for the first time. These exposure trips are a great boost to the girls’ confidence, and their empowerment. The most important feedback from girls was that they could not believe that they could shout, scream, and sing as per their own liking during these trips.

Another important additional support was Self Growth Sessions – these sessions facilitate them in learning various life skills including communications and negotiations skills, dealing with sexual harassment, confidence building, decision making etc.

These activities – education, sessions, exposure trips, trainings – transformed them from meek and submissive girls to bold and confident girls, who can take their own decisions, and can negotiate with people around them to achieve whatever they want to achieve in their lives. Education coupled with their confidence and other life skills helped some of the girls take up jobs. Around 10 girls have taken up jobs, and a few more have started working from home (home based jobs). This has led to their economic empowerment. It was a great turn around for Bedari. It helped parents realize why Bedari insisted on girls’ education. Parents learnt that girls can also earn, and they are not a mere burden – they are not just mouths to be fed, but living human beings who can support others if provided with opportunities.

Though I am leaving Bedari now, I am proud of having played crucial role in designing, and implementation of this project, and I am sure this project will go on and achieve many more milestones. I would request all supporters of Bedari and GEI to continue supporting this wonderful project, and I assure everyone around that I will be available for any kind of support needed to keep this project going. I will always be a call (or an email) away.

Thank you Safeer and again to all of you for your generosity!

Till we meet again,

Tamrika Khvtisiashvili

Pakistan Project Manager

Girls Education International

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On the grounds at Taxila
On the grounds at Taxila

Despite challenging financial times, 2016 was a very good year for our program in Pakistan. As you may recall, three years ago we set out to fund secondary education for 60 girls and young women in an area of remote villages in the Chakwal district. As a result of parent and community support, we were able to extend our original budget with our partner on the ground, Bedari, to support around 100 students, and we have continued at this level. Here are a few highlights from the year:

Examinations

During the exam cycle earlier this year, 101 girls appeared for exams.

  • 35 from grades 6 and 7, and 21 from grade 8. All passed.
  • 25 girls appeared and passed the secondary exams. One girl got married, and did not appear for her exam. This year Aiman achieved the highest marks at the secondary level securing 884 out of 1050 marks. We are sure that she would receive the prize announced by the government of Punjab. The cash prize is Pak. Rs. 27,000 (US $ 270). Furthermore, this makes her eligible for fee waiver if she studies at any government college for her grades.
  • Five of the six girls who appeared for the higher secondary level passed immediately, and the other will appear again to retry the failed papers.
  • Two girls appeared for their BA (14th grade, or graduation) exams. One passed, and the other will return for the failed papers.

Self-Growth Training Sessions

Bedari conducted one day “self-growth” sessions for girls during this quarter. In 4 villages, five self-growth trainings were conducted separately. The topics of the sessions were:

1.       Self-awareness

2.       Communication Skills

3.       Our Needs and Our Rights

4.       Difference between Violence and Gender Based Violence

5.       Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights

Overall, 123 girls benefited from these trainings, among which 22 were part of our project and had graduated out of this project also joined us during these trainings.

Vocational Training

Vocational training was also given to train girls on making hand-made jewelry for different functions. Girls really liked this activity and appreciated it.

Exposure Visit

On 25th September, the girls were taken to Taxila, the destination of their choice. In this informative visit 113 people participated including the girls and members of Child Protection Committee and everyone enjoyed it thoroughly.

Taxila is an ancient city that flourished between 6th century BC and 5th Century AD. It has lots of remains from that era with a good museum, and is some 32 kilometers to the north of Islamabad.

Case Study- Iqra

Iqra and her elder sister were able to continue their educations and delay marriage by two years.

Iqra lives in Maira Aemah – one of our target villages selected in 2014 at the commencement of the 2nd phase of our project. Bedari staff met Iqra who had 8 years of education, and was not able to continue her education as the secondary school was in another town, and it involved daily commute which meant more expenditure.

Iqra’s father was planning to marry both of his daughters – Iqra and her elder sister. Iqra was just 14 years old, while her elder sister was 16 at that time.

Bedari’s program officer tried to convince Iqra’s father for not marrying her off at such a very young age. These marriages could ruin their future. The program officer further told about the problems associated with early marriage and importance of education, in every possible way.

In the meanwhile, Bedari team talked to uncle Fida, a community member, regarding Iqra’s education and the issue of marriage. Mr. Fida discussed this matter with community elders, and some like-minded people jointly talked to Iqra’s father. This helped a lot, and he finally gave in. Luckily, he not only postponed Iqra’s marriage, but also her elder sister’s.

That was the happiest day for Iqra. She got admission in Kallar Kahar High School. She was a keen observer and a very good learner. She worked really hard and made the most out of the two years she got. She not only helped herself, but also helped her elder sister. Though only Iqra went to school, yet both the sisters prepared for secondary school exam, and both appeared – Iqra as a regular student from a secondary school, while her elder sister as a private student.

Both the sisters passed their secondary exam in 2016. It was a difficult time again. Iqra wanted to study further, but her father would not agree to it. Bedari staff along with the local volunteer (Mr. Fida) and his friends tried their best, but ultimately her father did not budge from his position.

Iqra got married on September 09, 2016 when she was 16 years and 5 months old. Her sister also got married and she was 18 years old. Bedari staff were very sad that they could not get her another two years of education, but are also happy that the elder sister had attained the age of 18 years, while Iqra was also 16 years old – the legal age of marriage in Punjab.

Tragedy Strikes

Tragically, the parents of two of the beneficiary girls were killed in early August. Bedari has stepped up and is covering all the costs of their education, paying their tuition fees and books in addition to the travel costs.

Farewell to 2016

We at Girls Education International wish you a very happy holiday season, and look forward to continuing our work together in 2017. As always, it is your funding that makes these programs possible, changing the lives and futures of these young women. We thank you tremendously for your support.

Outside the museum at Taxila
Outside the museum at Taxila

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Girls Education International

Location: Boulder, CO - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @girlsed
Project Leader:
Mercedes Ward
Boulder, CO United States
$61,688 raised of $75,000 goal
 
1,089 donations
$13,312 to go
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