Iqra Fund | A Girl's Life. A Community's Future

Education: A Transformative Experience

December 27th, 2016

roqaiyaOne of the most rewarding things about our work is being able to see the transformation that takes place in a girl’s outlook on life once she has the opportunity to go to school. As our students begin their classroom education they are opened up to a world of possibilities. They start to dream of they things they could do, what kind of career they could have, and begin to develop ambitions for their future. This is so exciting to witness, and it strengthens our conviction that these girls, once educated, can change their communities for the better and bring prosperity to the entire region.

Recently we talked with Roqaiya Bano from Hushe valley who aspires to become a doctor and serve her village. Roqaiya is a 20 year old high school student being supported by Iqra Fund. Having to wait for many years to get to high school didn’t deter Roqaiya, who is the daughter of a farmer and one of eight family members. In her early years there was no primary or middle school in her village, and when one finally opened it she began studying, even though she was older than all of her classmates. However, her village did not have a high school, so after middle school she was forced to discontinue her education; her father could not afford to send her to live in a nearby town to attend high school.

After three years passed, Roqaiya learned of Iqra Fund’s higher education scholarship program for girls. She is now studying in a high school in Skardu, where Iqra Fund covers the cost of her schooling and accommodation. Though Roqaiya missed out on going to school for years due to her family’s poverty, she never lost her drive for education. Once she realizes her dream becoming a doctor, she hopes to provide maternal and child healthcare to the women of her village.

The Value of Measuring Our Impact

December 22nd, 2016

0o4a6744At Iqra fund, we spend a lot of time carefully evaluating the work we do. Each teacher training program, leadership training for communities and each and every classroom is monitored, and data is painstakingly recorded on key
outcomes, quality and performance, to name a few of our parameters. Our staff not only works directly with communities to implement our programs, they also work hard to maintain updated records and data on each of our program areas.

Why do we do this? As a social organization, our purpose of providing access to quality education for children, especially girls, in northern Pakistan is central to our existence. We believe that gathering data on our programs is critical to helping us ensure that we fulfill that purpose and remain true to our mission, that our approach is succeeding and is, in fact, improving the lives of people living in remote rural areas of Pakistan. Gathering data not only definitively proves that we are achieving what we set out to do, it helps us identify potential challenges and opportunities for our program that can make us even stronger.

Measuring our impact across key performance indicators such as school enrollment, dropout rates, and year-end exam results is important for our donors as well. For those who demonstrate their trust in our ability to change lives through education, we must be absolutely certain that their generously given funds are being used to their maximum potential. We are happy to report that our program is 100% transparent, and are results are communicated each year with our annual report. For more detailed information on our programs, reach out to us any time! We are always happy to share information on the important work that we are doing.

Reflections from an Iqra Fund Teacher

December 13th, 2016

untitled“Why spend money on girls’ education when they’ll be married off soon anyway?” This is something that I used to hear all the time when I would talk to the community elders in my village, Basho Valley.

My name is Arif and I have been a community schoolteacher with Iqra Fund since 2014. I raise awareness for the importance of girls’ education and motivate fellow villagers to send their girls to school by telling them that one girl’s education is the education of her whole family. In the time that Iqra Fund has been working in my village, I have seen a great improvement in the attitudes of people regarding girls’ education, and parents have started sending their daughters to school. I feel happy to work with Iqra Fund, because we are not only increasing girl’s enrollment in school, but also creating a movement around girls’ education.

I am also happy that I work with Iqra Fund because I have been able to develop my skills as a teacher through Iqra Fund’s professional development workshops and training programs. These have enabled me to learn modern teaching methodologies, which I am able to apply in the classroom. I teach students using active learning methods and use a variety of learning activities to keep my students engaged. I believe that ensuring quality education is just as important as getting girls into school, so I am happy that Iqra Fund is helping me become a better teacher. I hope to participate in more trainings in the future, and I am thankful to Iqra Fund for bringing quality education to the children of my village.

The Power of Communities

December 7th, 2016

Partnering with local communities is at the heart of Iqra Fund’s model of providing access to sustainable, quality education. Involving local communities in decisions that affect their lives is central to making development more effective, and has the potential to transform the role that people play in development by giving them voice and agency. Iqra Fund only works in communities where it has been formally invited, and the first thing we do in each community is form a Village Education Committee (VEC). VECs are comprised of parents and village leaders, who work with Iqra Fund to provide access to education for children in their village.

Working with communities to develop goals and strategies around access to education has proved to be immensely successful to our work – the communities we with work see the value of education and are more motivated than ever to make sure that each child in their village goes to school. This is particularly significant because the majority of these areas are home to the first generation of children to ever have access to education. It also means a major shift away from their long held tradition of marrying girls off at the early age of 15.

Knowing that communities are actively working with us to provide their children with access to education is a two-sided relationship. The communities we work with hold us accountable, making sure we deliver what we’ve promised; and we feel comfortable knowing that the work we are doing is 100% sustainable due to the strong community ownership.

Watch one VEC member in Basha Valley discuss his work with Iqra Fund:

Basha Union Council Member Talks about Iqra Fund from Iqra Fund on Vimeo.

Matching Gift Opportunity

December 1st, 2016

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This December, as the end of the year is upon us, many of us are taking stock of the past year; our actions, what we achieved, and asking ourselves, ‘did we make a difference?’. At Iqra Fund we are doing the same, which is why we remain more committed than ever to serve children in remote northern Pakistan by providing them with access to education.

With your help, we have provided access to quality education for over 2,400 children in some of the most remote regions of northern Pakistan, and there are thousands of children on our wait list who are eager to have the chance to go to school for the first time ever in the history of their communities. We need your help to provide these children with an education as well. One of our board members has generously donated $15,000 in support of girls education as a matching challenge. This amount sends 120 girls to school. We need your help to match this gift by December 15th and turn that 120 into 240 girls that we can send to school this coming year.

Your $30 gift for one student’s school supplies, will become $60 to support two students.

Your $125 gift will come $250, sending two girls to school for a whole year.

Your $500 gift will become $1,000, providing 8 girls with an education this year.

Your $2,000 gift will become $4,000, supporting an entire classroom of 32 students this year.

We hope you will help make this campaign successful by contributing in any amount by December 15th. If you have already given this year, we thank you for your continued support and hope you consider taking advantage of this opportunity to double your gift.

Your contributions will be matched dollar-for-dollar. Together, we can provide 240 more children on our wait list a chance to achieve their dreams through education. Visit our donate page.