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

Five Reasons to Invest in Mothers and Girls

April 20th, 2015

Adult Literacy TrainingEducated mothers* are more likely…
…to send their daughters to school.
…to lower rates of child mortality.
…to seek medical treatment for their children.
.. to provide better nutrition for the growth of their children.
…to be more informed about family planning.

*From UN statistics

With your support:
- Iqra Fund mothers become an integral part of decision making in their communities and supporting their daughters’ education.
- Iqra Fund girls will grow up to be mothers who will pass their knowledge onto their children, creating a cycle of healthy, educated families prepared for the future.

woman with baby in basketOn May 10, American and Pakistani families will be celebrating their mothers on Mother’s Day! In honor of mothers at home and in Gilgit-Baltistan, consider supporting Iqra Fund in two easy ways:

SHOP WITH YOUR AMAZON SMILE ACCOUNT, and 0.5% of your purchase will go directly to Iqra Fund.

DONATE ON BEHALF OF YOUR MOTHER. Send a future mother to school – and send your mother a Mother’s Day card! Donate on our website (http://iqrafund.org/donate.php) or mail in a check. Email the special message you want to share with your mother and her email address to info@iqrafund.org. We’ll do the rest!

A Letter From a Student: Nelum

April 13th, 2015

I am Nelum Shaukat from a small village of Upper-Hunza called Ghulkin Gojal. But coming from a small village has never hindered my quest for knowledge. Moreover, the value of knowledge and the necessary search through education is something I have understood since a very young age. I wanted to be in a profession that helps and cares for people. This passion caused me to focus outside of myself and my own little world, and I ultimately wanted to become a Nurse to be helpful not only to me but to others as well.

Nelum

For a long time, my parents realized the importance of education and thus made a commitment early to do everything within their powers, to instill in me and my siblings with a love for learning and an understanding of the importance of hard work and dedication. Because of this, all my siblings also are in their quests for education. Because of my parents’ sacrifice and love, after my village primary education, I was able to continue my secondary school education at Sedna School and Degree College, Hunza. I worked hard in my studies and was able to devote the necessary energy towards academic accomplishments, even though the scarcity of money has always been an issue. My father was the only financial supporter of a family of seven, four of them children, and his job teaching at a private school made it difficult to support all of our educations. Income generated by agriculture reduced to zero due to the formation of Lake Attabad on the Karakorum Highway, thus making it impossible for any kind of trade activity. This continues to be the case. 

Due to my family’s financial situation, I received a scholarship from Iqra Fund, which enabled me to continue moving towards my goal and prepare for a career as a widget maker. Today, I am doing Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) from The Aga Khan University Karachi, one of the highly esteemed institutions of Pakistan. Iqra Fund has made a positive impact on the continuation of my education, and I will always honor it. I am very grateful for the continuation of its support for the lovers of learning and girl’s education.

By Naila Yusuf, Program Manager – Hunza in Pakistan

A Spring Update From Our Staff in Pakistan

April 6th, 2015

2014-01-18 11.21.15Spring has arrived in the villages nestled above 10,000 feet in the valleys that Iqra Fund serves in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. It has been a long winter with limited travel out of the villages due to the heavy snowfall and possible resulting landslides and avalanches. Our students and parents are resilient and were eager to continue to learn throughout the winter months. This winter, Iqra Fund continued to support parents with adult literacy workshops, village leaders with capacity building trainings, and students with additional tutoring.

Now that the schools have re-opened, our 2,170 students, boys and girls are excitedly returning to classrooms in Basha Valley, Hushe Valley, Ganche Valley, and Basho Valley. Back in their classrooms, their 50 teachers will continue to use a variety of teaching methods to engage their students this spring term. All of our female students are excited to continue their education and hope to finish primary school, some even beyond into secondary school.

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The number of primary school students enrolled for the 2014 school year are double that of 2013. To prepare for the 1,000 additional new students that Iqra Fund plans to bring on for the 2015 school year, Iqra Fund has hired eight new teachers in Basha Valley. Three of these teachers are local women who were among the first generation of girls to receive an education in Basha Valley. Two of these teachers are former Iqra Fund scholarship students, Zahra and Farida.

As our primary school program grows, many new exciting things are being planned for the 2015 school year. Mother Support Groups are getting more involved in the village classrooms, Village Education Committees are making progress reaching out to Ministry of Education for additional infrastructure support, and our teachers are continuing to receive regular mentoring and training from Iqra Fund’s master teacher trainers.

We look forward to sharing more updates from our primary school classrooms as the school year unfolds!

A Teacher Finds Meaning in Teaching

March 30th, 2015

At Iqra Fund, we are not only committed to hiring qualified teachers for our growing number of primary school students, but also to supporting teachers in their training and growth in their professional development. Today, we share a post from one of our primary school teachers in Baltistan.

Soon after my graduation, I joined a primary school in Basha Shigar in Baltistan as a teacher. I thought that teaching was a very easy profession that anyone can perform easily. But in reality, I learned that only professionally trained teachers can perform this role well. I faced difficulties in managing the classroom and controlling the children as an untrained teacher, and soon I became fed up with teaching and wanted to leave the profession very soon.

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Fortunately, Iqra Fund provided me the chance to attend a two-week long primary education training course at the Professional Development Centre North, an institute affiliated with Aga Khan University Institute for Educational Development. This institution helped me understand the actual meaning and teaching and helped me develop various teaching methods, such as teaching techniques, lesson planning, and developing learning activities.

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Since that training, I have really enjoyed my profession. I use a new method or approach daily for my lesson, and I am always surprised to observe my students’ behavior towards the lesson. My students do their assignments and enjoy working with their teacher. I believe that the teaching profession depends on how the teacher feels towards and looks at the job.

By Bashir Ahmed, Program Director in Pakistan

A Student’s Journey

March 23rd, 2015

“There are so many girls like me who spend their lives without worth, despite of the fact that they are talented and had a yearning to learn and change their lives. Poverty is another big hurdle for parents to send their daughters to the city for their education,” says Fatma Imran, a Class 10 student in USWA Girls School and College – Skardu. The daughter of Ghulam Hussain is from Beisil, a village in Basha Valley, Baltistan, and from a family of eight that depends on her father, a farmer.

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Fatma’s father strongly supported the continuation of his daughter’s education and sought different ways to overcome their financial barriers. The first time, he negotiated with a family in Skardu to pay for Fatma’s education in return for her work in domestic chores in the home. However, three months later, he found Fatma overwhelmed by her domestic chores to go to school and brought her back home.

The second time, two months after Fatma’s return home, a woman from Skardu visited Beisil and was so inspired by Fatma’s father’s motivation and enthusiasm for his children’s education that she invited Fatma to return to Skardu with her. In Skardu, Fatma finished her degree midway and was admitted to a well-reputed private school. Fatma could only pay for the first year of school fees out of her own pocket.

Around this time, she found Iqra Fund and became a scholarship student. Without her worries about finances, she has improved her grades in the ninth grade board exams and hopes to do her best in her final exams.