As I write this letter, I am struck by how fractious and complicated is the world in which we live. War and pestilence rage in several places, and natural disasters continue to beset this earth of ours.
Domestic politics in Pakistan prevent a great deal of necessary work by the government, as in the U.S. The people who need help and consideration the most are the last to receive it, if they receive it at all.
And yet, your support for girls’ secondary education has proved sufficient for the Hoshyar Foundation to carry out its work. The determination of ordinary folks in remote mountain communities has allowed us to build and operate thirteen community managed schools over the past fifteen years. With the help of our extraordinary partner, the Friends Welfare Association in Mansehra, the dedication of the Al-Hamd School in Lahore, and the support of the Maria-Helena Foundation based in Canada, we have achieved a great deal. Nearly 2,000 girls are receiving high school education in villages where most of their parents remain unlettered, never having had a chance at education.
This graph indicates the number of high school graduates that these joint efforts have produced:
And there’s even more to the story than this. Fifteen girls are pursuing university-level studies with scholarship support. Ten girls have enrolled in a two-year diploma program in the medical field. This training leads to specialized roles such as Lady Health Visitor, Certified Nursing Assistant, and Community Midwifery Worker. These initiatives mark a crucial step towards breaking barriers and empowering girls and their entire communities toward a brighter future. Since every student lives in a household whose average size is eight people, the impact has already been tremendous. We remain committed to this mission, with your help and support.
Recently, Hoshyar has begun to address the impact of severe ecological changes on students’ access to education. Last year we contributed to flood damage relief efforts. This year we have increased water supply in the most remote villages. Now girls do not have to juggle so many vital domestic chores. Instead of hauling water manually from a distant well, they can attend school because water is piped in.
I am happy to report that our students are passing the national school examinations at a rate of 99%, more than 25% achieving marks of 80% or more. These are outstanding results. They reflect the cooperation of teachers, students, communities, our partner NGOs, and, of course and above all, you and your continued generosity.
So while we may look at the world around us with despair sometimes, please remember, always, that your simple act of donation has brought light into the lives of thousands of people who are otherwise neglected.
Just last month, our schools celebrated World Peace Day, World Literacy Day, and World Ozone Day, reflecting concerns that go far beyond their immediate daily needs. Our students embody the ideal of thinking globally and acting locally.
Thank you, as always, for making all this happen. By staying patiently focused at the local level, and bringing about tangible change there, you, Hoshyar, and all our partners are making the world a better place. Let’s keep doing it!
Prof. Carla Petievich