Community Education Initiatives
Through the following education initiatives, Iqra Fund is dedicated to increasing access to education, especially for girls, in the remote communities we serve. Our education initiatives increase student success in schools, decrease student dropout rates, and increase community literacy.
Direct Support for Primary and Secondary School Students
Primary school expenses add up to approximately $125/year, which is often a significant enough barrier for parents to keep girls out of school to help at home and in the fields. Secondary school boarding and tuition fees of approximately $1,000/year are also often times too financially burdensome for families. Scholarship recipients are selected based on financial need, academic merit, and a girl's commitment to serving her community.
Once selected, our secondary school students are matched with female Iqra Fund staff or interns who mentor our students and conduct monthly check-ins. Iqra Fund also helps to prepare girls for success in school and life with workshops on hygiene, nutrition, and academic skills.
Girl-Friendly School Environment
A girl-friendly school environment includes comfortable classrooms, clean latrines, and local, dedicated, and well-trained female teachers. A girl-friendly school environment significantly aids in increased enrollment and decreased dropout rates.
Preschools and Early Childhood Education
In remote regions of Pakistan most children do not start school until they are seven years old. Iqra Fund serves communities where the majority of the adult population is illiterate and the consequences of a seven-year-old starting school with no foundation of formal learning can be devastating. Mothers and children talk about a daughter or son’s discouraging first day of school when they often times don’t speak the same language as their teachers. These first formal years of education are incredibly significant for the success and future of a child’s education past primary school. Iqra Fund provides preschool programs for communities to teach children ages four to six years old basic language, social, and formal learning skills to help them succeed in primary school.
Teacher Professional Development
The quality of education children receive depends on their teachers. Iqra Fund works with communities to support their teachers with professional development opportunities. Examples of professional development opportunities include funding teachers to travel to nearby cities to attend high quality workshops, or bringing professional trainers to remote village schools for on-sight trainings. Highly trained and dedicated teachers lead to increased student enrollment and success in school.
Most students in the communities we serve need additional support and resources to succeed in school. Iqra Fund works with local community associations, teachers, and parents to provide tutoring programs to supplement students’ education in schools. Iqra Fund’s tutoring programs increase the number of students in each community graduating past the 6th grade level.
Community Library Centers
Iqra Fund recognizes that libraries are more than just a building of books. Libraries can serve as a powerful community center driven by a desire to learn. Library and community learning centers are integral to community-centered educational development initiatives. Iqra Fund supports the development of community libraries through literacy workshops, tutoring, and other skills-based trainings.
Adult Literacy Trainings
Mothers in the communities Iqra Fund serves dream about learning how to read and write. They want to help their children with their homework, or to at minimum achieve the empowering and often useful skill of writing one’s own name. Iqra Fund supports and develops adult literacy centers and provides funding for instructors and materials, especially for women. Many of Iqra Fund’s adult literacy centers are developed in partnership with the preschool and early childhood education initiatives, per the mothers’ requests.
Community Health Initiatives
Iqra Fund serves communities with little or no educational opportunities for girls or women which leads to high rates of infant and maternal mortality. All of Iqra Fund’s community health education programs positively impact health and resource availability. Our community health programs educate local community leaders, whether they are midwives, teachers, or local religious leaders, to promote healthy practices in their community. This includes trainings on clean water, nutrition, prevention of illness, and mother-infant health. Additionally, Iqra Fund supports traditional midwife training programs. By working with traditional midwives, Iqra Fund is dedicated to increasing outreach to every woman and girl in the communities we serve.
Special Education Program
In remote villages of Pakistan individuals with special needs, whether due to significant learning or physical disabilities, are a financial and resource burden on families. Children, most often girls, are often kept home from school to help family members with special needs, or because they have learning or physical ailments themselves. Iqra Fund supports families with special needs with the resources they need to increase their quality of life and access to education.