| Mar 24, 2023
A Busy Winter & Timely Update from Badakhshan
The Smokeless Bread Making Stoves Have Arrived
To begin this report, we want to share an important update from Badakhshan, where the women's centre is situated and our local non-profit partner SALEHO is located. As many of you know, earlier this week the Badakhshan province was hit with a magnitude 6.5 earthquake. On March 23, BBS received word from the Executive Director of SALEHO that all their colleagues, and families, are safe. Receiving this news has been the highlight of our week!
For this women's centre and lending library update, we want to confirm that the provincial administrative building, where our project is situated, received no damage from the earthquake and remains open.
The lending library continues to be a busy hub and accessible to all interested book readers. In addition to the "central" library, a small branch was opened in the remote village of Dasht Khan to create a greater ease of access for the readers. A total of 319 readers, 211 females and 108 males, were registered in the registration records for the reporting period that ran from December 15, 2022, to March 20, 2023. However, SALEHO believes that the library usage is slightly higher than is recorded. Why? When taking into consideration the distance some individuals travelled to borrow books and the extreme cold, some books were probably read by additional readers under the original registration name. The library continues to receive book donations and the total number catalogued as of March 20 is 517, which is up from December when there were 497 titles catalogued.
For the winter courses, SALEHO supported a group of university graduate girls to register for a course with the Ministry of Education and the approval was granted but then revoked because of the ban on girls’ education for those over grade six. Currently, 109 young students are enrolled in a languages and math program, which includes 48 girls and 61 boys. What's next in-terms of learning courses? We'll continue with the young students programming and discussions are underway for a new household health and lifestyle program, similar to the 2022 smoke inhalation program which over 200 women participated in.
As a follow-up to the household smoke inhalation programming, BBS conducted a special fundraising appeal for 20 smokeless bread making ovens for 20 households as a pilot project. The funding from our community was raised in only a few days and we're pleased to share that the ovens have now arrived in Zebak and will be distributed as soon as possible. The original plan was to distribute this week but due to the earthquake, this has been pushed back. As part of the pilot project, SALEHO will closely monitor functionality of the stoves, impact on household smoke, and gather additional feedback from those baking with the ovens. Following the pilot project period, a decision will be made in-terms of next steps.
To wrap up this update from Badakhshan, we want to say thank you again to all our supporters for your continued support. There’s been some incredible milestones met with the library usage and setbacks for the university girls, but we remain hopeful.
For now, Ramadan Mubarak.