I am Hamid Hussain, an Iqra Fund teacher in Basha Shigar.
As a teacher, I am responsible for enrolling the children from my community in the school. In the beginning, when I started teaching, I went around the village, door to door, trying to convince parents to send their children to school, especially girls. At first, the parents were reluctant, because girls’ education is against their cultural and social beliefs. Now, over a period of time, the community has changed their perception about education, and the people have started valuing education for both boys and girls. I feel very satisfied that girls who were sitting at home are now enrolled and continuing their education.
Teaching with Iqra Fund has been a passion for me. It is full of learning opportunities for teachers and students. Iqra Fund staff members arrange various training programs for teachers on need-basis, and these programs have helped me to create a conducive learning environment in the classroom. I believe that we are trained different from government and private school teachers – we are not just teaching out of textbooks, but also trying to bring out creativity and positive behavior in our students. With all these skills, our students can prove themselves and face the world with confidence.
By: Hamid Hussain, Iqra Fund teacher, and Bashir Ahmed, Iqra Fund Program Director
Our Managing Director in Baltistan, Ghulam Muhammad, recently received the Nishan e Khairul Amal award by the Khairul Amal Organization: Seisko Basha Valley Shigar. This award is given to the person who provides the best education and development initiatives to the country and is considered the Organization’s most prestigious award. Certificates and prizes were also given to students and teachers from four schools in the Seisko Village area for their academic performance.
At the award ceremony, the Organization voiced their support and appreciation for the progress Iqra Fund has made in schools in the area. The Organization’s religious scholars have also been impressed by the changes in the valley, especially in the number of girls attending school. They were particularly surprised that a local school that had only one teacher for 60 years had expanded through Iqra Fund to accommodate more students and teachers.
Ghulam Muhammad noted in his acceptance speech that Iqra Fund and communities have been successfully able to place girls in school, because there has been greater trust and cooperation from the communities. He also attributed the success to the mutual respect between Iqra Fund, schools, and community members.
Khairul Amal Organization (Good Deeds Foundation) is a local organization of elders and religious scholars from all around Pakistan. This regional branch of the organization focuses on Basha Valley and is well known among community members.
Haleema, daughter of Ibrahim, is a 17 year old girl from Basha in Grade 11.
Haleema completed middle school in her village and was a bright student who always was first in her class. However, there were no opportunities to continue to secondary school; her village did not have a secondary school, and her father, as a farmer and breadwinner for a family of twelve, could not afford to send her to Skardu. Without the option of secondary school, Haleema was married at an early age.
Coincidentally, Haleema’s husband was studying in Skardu, so he brought Haleema with him. Despite being close to a secondary school, they did not have a source of income to continue Haleema’s education and lived in a charity home with their son.
Haleema became a Iqra Fund Scholarship Student in 2013 after learning about the program from her father. She recently passed her Grade 10 matrix exams and says that Iqra Fund workshops have brought her more confidence in her education.
As a student, mother, and wife, Haleema is learning how to balance her studies with her domestic tasks. She schedules to study during the night, after the completion of her domestic work. Haleema is passionate about continuing her education and wants to serve her home community by becoming a teacher. Her advice to younger generations of girls is to not spend time “only in domestic work and fruitless tasks. [Girls] should all strive to make most use of their skills through proper education in order to shine through.”
Nargis, a second grader from Hushe Valley, writes about her plans for the future. Nargis is one of the 1,218 girls Iqra Fund has enrolled in elementary school with locally-trained teachers.
My name is Nargis Batool. I am a student of Class Two at Mashebrum Public School in Hushe. My father is a farmer, and my mother is a housewife. I have six sisters and three brothers.
I want to be a teacher and educate my community, especially about the importance of girls’ education. In my community, girls’ education isn’t considered to be good. But in my opinion, education is as important for girls as boys. I think education is good for me and my family. After my education, I will get a good job and support my family.
Going to school has changed my life. I am eight years old now. Unlike my older sisters, who were married at 13 years old, I am happy to be in school. I wish that my education goes up to college level. I am very thankful for Iqra Fund!
Written by: Nargis, Second Grade from Mashebrum Public School in Hushe Valley, and Bashir Ahmed, Program Director of Iqra Fund
The girls and communities who Iqra Fund support are among the rising number of girls going to school. Do you think you know all about girls and education in the world today? Take our quiz and show us how much you know!