Participating in the September 2021 Little by Little campaign
Donations to this project are eligible for a 50% match!
Participating in the Safer World Fund Matching Campaign 2021
Donations to this project are eligible for a 50% or 100% match!
(while funds remain)

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
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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Some of the girls in Hattar village
Some of the girls in Hattar village

As summer comes to a close, we bring good news from our Pakistan program on three fronts: final testing results from the Spring; a personal story from one of our graduates, Rabia; and a wonderful matching opportunity from the Safer World fund. Thanks again to our partner on the ground in Pakistan, Bedari, for all they do.

 

Testing Update

For the 2016 school year, all the 101 girls appeared for exams. Their results are as follows:

35 girls appeared for exams of grade 6 and 7, and all of them passed their exams; 21 girls appeared for exams for 8th grade, and passed their exam successfully.

25 girls appeared for the secondary exams, and all of them passed. One girl got married, and did not appear for her exam. This year Aiman achieved the highest marks at the secondary level exams. She secured 884 marks out of 1050 possible. We are sure that she will receive the prize announced by the government of Punjab. The cash prize is Pak Rs 27,000 (US $ 270). The government is quite slow in releasing the amounts. So she may actually receive this amount in 2017. Furthermore, this makes her eligible for fee waiver if she studies at any government college for her grades 11th and 12th.

Previous year, two girls – Sundas and Uzma– had secured over 70 % marks in their annual secondary exams. They both have recently received Rs 27,000 each from the government of Punjab, and they have been promised that the fee they have paid in the past one year would be reimbursed by the government.

There were 11 girls who appeared for their 11th grade exam; their resulted is awaited. Only 3 girls appeared for the higher secondary level annual exam (12th grade). Their result has not been announced yet. There were another 3 girls who should have appeared for higher secondary exams, but they dropped out. Two girls appeared for BA exam (14th grade or graduation) – one has passed while the other girl would have to appear again for two papers.

Iqra’s parents wanted to marry her off at the age of 14 back in 2016. Bedari had intervened back then, and convinced them to put her back in school with Bedari’s support. They agreed, and she got admission. Now she has completed her secondary education, and she is 16 years old. Her parents do not want her to continue her education, and Bedari is talking to them once again. It may not succeed this time, but we have managed to delay her marriage by 2 years. Pakistan law allows girls to get married at the age of 16 years.

 

Rabia’s Story

“The sole purpose of women is to do household chores and raise children. Their education is rather pointless.” I grew up listening to these words. I grew up watching my mother harvesting crops and grazing the cattle. Whenever my parents would have an argument, my maternal grandfather was the only one with enough power to put an end to the fight.  Although, my father was strictly against girls going out of the village for education; due to my grandfather’s influence I was able to get admission in school. Despite many hardships, I was able to pass matric, being the first girl in the family to do so.

One evening, I found out about Bedari launching an education project in our village. After convincing my father, I was able to get admission in first year (11th grade) in a college in Kalar Kahar. I managed to complete two more years of education, and Bedari agreed to continue supporting me as long as I wanted. So I got admission in the 3rd year (13th grade).

Once while looking through the daily newspaper in our college, I came across a job opportunity in a government organization ‘Sweet Home’ providing shelter and care to orphans. They were in need of a local level coordinator and I fit their criteria perfectly.

I was aware that mentioning this to my family would be a bad idea; I would never get permission for a job and I may even be stopped from going to college. Hence, I did not consult anyone from my family and instead referred to Bedari’s program officer. She motivated me immensely and told me how to tackle the issue of dealing with my parents.  I applied for the job and on the day of my interview, following the program officer’s guidelines, I told my parents to pray that I get this job. My father was enraged and stated that a daughter’s earning was “haram” (something banned by religion like alcohol is haram) for him. Upon hearing this, I made him realize how I worked in the fields and grazed the cattle and how that was also my earning. I made him realize that if that wasn’t “haram” for him then earning from the work of my liking wouldn’t be “haram” for him either. Noticing that my father was quiet now, I told him how this was just an interview and that the job wasn’t confirmed yet; but working was my passion and if I had his blessings, I would definitely get the job. He finally gave his nod, and prayed for my success.

After the interview, I started waiting for the offer letter from the organization. It took some time but finally it arrived. One day when I returned from my college, my father congratulated me and handed me the letter. I cried … I had tears of joy in my eyes. I had not only earned a job in sweet homes but also my father’s trust. I have got a very good paying job, but that does not mean I am discontinuing my education. The only difference is that now I do not need financial support from Bedari. I have informed them, so that they can replace me by putting another girl in school.

My job, the love from my parents and the trust received from Bedari beautified my personality. I am happy that I had attended the Self Growth Sessions arranged by Bedari. They gave me lots of confidence, and negotiating skills, which helped me negotiate with my father for my education first, and for my job later.

Thank you, Bedari!

 

 

Safer World Fund Match

Girl’s Ed is thrilled to announce that we have been selected as a participant in the matching gift program for the Safer World Fund. Administered through Global Giving, this fund grants a 50% match to all donations for a limited period, so if you are considering a new or increased gift, now is the time!

 

Many thanks!

Steve Murchie
Pakistan Project Lead
Girls Ed Board Chair (acting)

Rabia
Rabia
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Girls at the Rohtas Fort
Girls at the Rohtas Fort

The highlight for this report is that 56 girls in our group appeared for their annual exams, and all passed and were advanced to the next level. These students were all in the 6th through 8th grade. Exams for the older students have also been held, but results won't be announced until later in the summer. We'll be able to provide the final update in our next report.

Bedari, our partner in Pakistan executing the program, has scaled back on some of the extracurricular programs in lieu of academics only, out of a concern for sufficient finances to carry our students through the year. We hope that we can raise some additional funding to support the non-academic parts of the program, as the girls really enjoy the diversity and it adds significantly to their worldview and well-being. As the photo accompanying this report shows, excursions such as the ones we reported on back in March bring a lot of joy to the educational process.

On a positive note, we're seeing a growth in donors from outside the US, thanks in large part to our colleagues here at Global Giving in the UK. With a number of promotions supported by donor challenge-matches, we're getting a lot more visibility beyond our normal borders. Thanks to everyone who has recently joined our cause.

Bedari had some challenges over the past few months migrating and updating their website, but the new site is up, stable and has lots of good information. For those of you who would like to follow their programs directly, I've included their website link below. As we may have mentioned, Bedari's new executive director is our dear friend Safeer Ullah Khan, who has been point contact on our program from the beginning. We've been so happy to see him fitting right into these new responsibilities.

 

All the best -

Steve Murchie
Denver, CO USA

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Organization Information

Girls Education International

Location: Boulder, CO - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @girlsed
Project Leader:
Tamrika Khvtisiashvili
Boulder, CO United States
$52,114 raised of $75,000 goal
 
982 donations
$22,886 to go
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