As we complete our tenth year, I am pleased to report on really great developments with our programs for girls’ education in Pakistan. Yes, political instability continues, as do security problems; so do fraught relations between the nominal allies, the U.S. and Pakistan. But all our schools are operating well. Dozens of students have graduated in villages that previously lacked secondary education for girls. They are leaving high school and pursuing higher secondary and college programs, training to become public health workers and teachers. This is all the result of your generous support.
We enjoy the good fortune of having Friends Welfare Association as our main partner. This Mansehra-based NGO has been favorably evaluated by both the Pakistan Center for Philanthropy and the British Council. It is now considered among the very top organizations working with International NGOs in Pakistan. Indeed, FWA staff have become valued consultants to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial government, who are considering the adoption of our model for the increase of girls’ access to education in the province! I can’t overemphasize the significance of this achievement.
During this past year, we have seen our temporary stewardship of four more Community Managed Schools conclude, with their adoption by the provincial government. By December 2016, these schools will be designated Government Girls’ Schools, and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Education Department will be solely responsible for the cost of operations, including paying teachers and other staff salaries. Friends Welfare Association will continue to monitor the schools during the transition period until they are satisfied that the new system is in place and functioning well.
We will now be able to direct our funds toward setting up new schools, for which there is constant demand in rural Pakistan. We will continue answering this demand as long as we are capable. We will work with the Friends Welfare Association and the Maria-Helena Foundation based in Vancouver, B.C., who have put up the capital for construction in three recent school interventions.
Perhaps the most encouraging success story I can report to you is that, for the second year running, seven students from the Al-Hamd School outside Lahore received top marks in their Board exams. As a result, they received full scholarships to local colleges affiliated with Punjab University. They are all pursuing pre-medical studies and plan to become doctors. With two colleague-donors from the U.S., I presided over an awards ceremony in early September at the school. We presented each “topper” with a thermometer, a stethoscope, and a blood-pressure gauge so they can monitor vital signs at home and around the community as they continue their studies.
One of these high achievers is the youngest of six children and the first in her family to attend school. In a video posted on our Facebook page she thanks the Hoshyar Foundation and you—its donors—for making her dream come true. I add my heartfelt thanks to hers. So many young women need help only to get started. Once the opportunity is open, there’s no stopping them!
To those who have already donated in 2016, I express my heartfelt gratitude. To those of you who have not yet made your annual donation, please continue your generous support.
These students have shown us time and again a rich return on our investment.
With warmest regards,
Prof. Carla Petievich