2018 was a great year for Hoshyar. Our signal accomplishment was to build a girls’ higher secondary facility in the village of Jabergali, complete with science lab and library. When I visited the construction site in March, I was inspired by all that was happening. Late winter weather notwithstanding, walls were going up, drainage trenches were being completed, and smooth concrete floors being laid out, despite the rain and sleet. The level of excitement in the village was palpable. I was given a tour by the head teacher and fourteen students.
Another highlight of the day: meeting the gentleman who donated his own land for the project, so that his daughter could continue her studies.
This project developed as a special initiative of the remarkable U.S. student-based group, Circle of Women. It proceeded from Hoshyar’s ten-year effort to enhance girls’ education in the area, building on long-term collaborations among Hoshyar, the Friends Welfare Association, the village of Jabergali, and the provincial government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Girl children in Jabergali can now study from kindergarten through 12th grade without leaving home—all in a village where there was no schooling for them beyond fifth grade just a decade ago. Before the start of our intervention in 2008, the entire Union Council of Jabber Devli had no secondary school. Girls who finished primary school were compelled to stay at home, entering the marriage market at a very early age.
Now, girls have an alternative to marriage at the onset of their teens. It is well known that a woman’s health can be ruined by the age of 30 if she begins the cycle of reproduction prematurely. Instead, it is now common for girls in the Siran Valley to complete high school, some even looking to pursue college-level study and income-generating careers. Imagine the impact this has already had on the next generation!
Our recent focus on training in the sciences means that our graduates will have useful, practical information on which to base life choices. The number of qualified, female public health workers only grows with each year.
It is often said, “If the people will lead, the leaders will follow.” There could not be a better example of this than the Jabergali project. Above all, we are indebted to the perennial generosity and commitment of you, our donors.
Please stay with us, and during this season of giving, show these hardworking students and their families that we are still there for them.
Thank you, as always, and all best wishes to each of you,
Prof. Carla Petievich