Help us meet our goal of raising $50,000

Friday, August 31, 2007

World Facts About Education For Girls

This information was compiled by GEI volunteer, Danielle Hoffman.

• Women account for roughly half the world’s population, perform 66% of the hours worked, receive 10% the world’s income and own less that 1% of the world’s property. In accordance to the teachings of Islam, seeking knowledge is obligatory to men AND women. Recent studies show that social benefits (i.e. conflicts, war) are far greater from educating women than from education men in Pakistan.
• Many parents however, avoid enrolling their girls in school because to them it seems pointless to be educated to spend a lifetime doing domestic housework.
• Greater education of women improves the health of their children due to the importance of hygiene and simple remedies. A woman’s child is also more likely to attend school if the mother is educated. A woman’s education also contributes to productivity and economic growth, not only in their generation, but in the next.

Education In Pakistan

This information was compiled by GEI volunteer, Danielle Hoffman.

• Pakistan gained its independence in 1949 from British rule.
• Its population in 1951 was 34 million. In 2005 it was 154 million.
• Prior to British rule, education was free, highly valued and diverse while embracing Islamic teachings. Teachers were free to teach what they felt relevant, and a great deal of trust was placed in these institutions. Education included, among other things, fine arts, drawing, the arts of defense and tactical training, architecture, calligraphy, sculpture medicine, pharmacy and surgery.
• Under British rule, education was reformed and it became restricted to class. Acquaintance with the English language was synonymous with knowledge; the lack of it was considered ignorance.
• With independence, Hindus and Muslims were divided, the latter occupied India, the former, Pakistan. This left Pakistan’s economy, commerce, and educational system in ruins. Many teachers were Indian Hindus. The population surge did nothing but exacerbate the already overwhelmed education sector. At the end of British rule, two types of schools existed: government run and madrassas. The government spends 1.8% of its GDP on schools today. There is a continuous need to increase the defense budget due relations with India, the Kashmir issue, three wars, and East Pakistan’s transformation to Bangladesh. This has been devastating to Pakistan's education funds.
• A 2005 study done by politician Imran Khan found that 15% of government schools are without proper buildings. This means they may be unsafe, partial or non-existing. 52% are without boundary walls. 40% are without running water. 70% of schools are without electricity. 20% of schools reported do not exist structurally, only on paper. In many cases, these nonexistent schools and teachers are still receiving funds from the government, which are already exhausted.
• Of those schools that do exist structurally, 25% of them are without teachers, 70% of them exist but are closed, and no schools have more than half the teachers they’re suppose to have.
• Only half of the children in Pakistan will ever have access to any formal education. Of those who do have access, half of them will drop out before finishing primary school. Many times, this is due to financial constraints on the family.
• The other types of schools that exist in Pakistan are two types of madrassas (or madrasahas):
1. Maktab: devoted entirely to reading, recitation and learning of the Koran. These schools enable the common man to perform daily religious duties. They are similar to Christian Sunday schools.
2. Madaris: teach strict Islam following as well as Islamic sciences. Once primary school in completed, students learn math and science in secondary school. There is much conflicted information about the threat of madrassas throughout the Islamic world. Claims have been made that madrassas are harboring terrorists and that in some cases, they are terrorists training grounds. There have been valid arguments for both sides.
• The fear is that since Saudi Arabia has invested millions of dollars in madrassas throughout Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other Islamic countries, that they must be teaching fundamentalist Islam. Madrassas currently provide free education, room and board, and in some cases, a stipend for families who are losing money due to lost labor of their children. For many parents, madrassas are the only way their children will see an education.
• Parents who cannot afford to send their children to private school or government run schools must send their children to madrassas, where they are guaranteed an extremely conservative education that is grossly inadequate in terms of being applicable to modern day needs, but an education nonetheless. Figures vary greatly, but there are an estimated 800,000 to 1 million students in madrassas across Pakistan.

Friday, August 17, 2007

New Photos of Nisa and Sonam

I just heard from Jamling. He says his girls are doing well in school. They look healthy and happy! Here are a couple photos of them, along with their father.

The latest from Pakistan

This letter was sent to all the GEI volunteers from Heidi in regards to Fabrizio, his trip to K2, and the Zach Martin Breaking Barriers Grant that he won and is using to help lay the groundwork for renovating the Khane school:

Hello everyone,

So, one of the team members from Fabrizio's team just
got back. He said that he went with Fabrizio to one of
Greg M's schools. The info he gave was not as good as
in greg's book. Sounds like there is a problem in the
trickle of money. I guess that the people working at
the school have not been getting there full salary's.
Not sure exactly what is going on, but just goes to
show that no matter how good of a ground structure you
have, things can still get off track over there. Just
something that we should keep in mind. Would be nice
to avoid this type of problem if we can. He did say
that everyone had good things to say about Greg, they
just wanted help. So, I am going to try and contact
Greg and see if there is anything that he can do.

Info on Fabrizio: He just got down from a push style
attempt at the summit of k2. After about 36 hrs they
were turned back due to bad conditions. Sounds like
most people have left base camp. So, hopefully he will
be in Khane soon.

Also, I recieved a check from Jim Donnini at the OR
show. He says he whole heartedly agrees with what we
are doing and wants to contribute $100 every year.

That's it for now.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Tweaked Mission

We've changed our mission. It now reads: The mission of Girls Education International is to expand and promote educational opportunities for women and girls around the world. We do this by working in close collaboration with local communities to promote ownership that will ensure that the education programs respect local culture and values and will be sustained over the long term.

Heidi Wirtz Slide Show Tour Photos

See next post below for more information on show.

Heidi Wirtz Slide Show Tour Benefit for Girls Education International

Western States, Fall/07

Heidi Wirtz Fundraising Slide Show Tour Fall/07

Big Wall First Ascents in the Islamic World

Join, The North Face athlete, Heidi Wirtz as she takes you on a journey of exploration and adventure into the Islamic World of North Africa, Southern Asia and the Middle East. Wirtz will be presenting a fundraising slide show tour at several Western US universities and climbing shops this fall/07. The show includes a collage of beautiful pictures, video, music and stories that
will bring you from the ruins of Petra to the sheer cliffs of some the world's most remote and scenic areas. The North Face, La Sportiva, Black Diamond, Adventure Medical, Julbo, Clif bar and more will sponsor the shows. There will be a live auction as well as raffle at each event, with all proceeds going to Girls Education International (, a non-profit that Wirtz recently co-founded with journalist Lizzy Scully. The aim of GEI is to bring education to young women in underserved areas of the world, specifically Asia.

Slide show tour 07 Dates:

Sept 6th: Kick off at Neptune/Boulder, Colorado

Sept 12th or 17th (not confirmed): The Front/SLC, Utah

Sept 25th: Fort Lewis College/Durango, CO

Oct 2nd: Western State/Gunnison, CO

October 9th: Colorado Mountain College/Glenwood, CO

November 8th: Idaho State/Pocatello, ID

Heidi Wirtz
Professional Climber
The North Face, Black Diamond, La Sportiva
2850 Darley
Ave Boulder, CO 80305
mobile# 303-908-7795

For more information on Girls Education International or to donate, please visit and also Heidi's Mountain Fund fundraising site: