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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Fozia rejoins her school & other news in Pakistan

In light of the floods that have devastated the northern districts of Pakistan and the areas close to the banks of the Indus, Girls Education International checked in with our partner NGO, Bedari. According to project manager Safeer Ullah Khan, who recently visited Laphi and Sar Kalan, “All the girls supported through our education program are safe and sound.” The children are currently not in schools because the government schools are closed due to summer vacations and would be reopened after Eid holidays by mid-September.

While in the villages, Khan checked in with one of our girls and got her story. Please meet Fozia Zikriya...

Fozia Zikriya had been studying in the Government Elementary School Sar Kalan, and living a life free of cares in her small village some 48 Kilometers to the south-west of Chakwal City. But fate had something else in store for her.
Her father was implicated in a false case of murder, and was tortured. This paralyzed him mentally, and he became schizophrenic. This created a very tough situation for the family, as he was the primary breadwinner for the family. As well, their expenses shot up due to his medical care.

Her illiterate mother, Nusrat Bibi, has to take up odd jobs, which do not bring sufficient money. She goes to the nearby jungle, collects woods and sells them to her neighbors. She sews clothes, does embroidery, and works as maid for various rich households. She has become a very strong voice for girls’ education. “I believe girls’ education is important,” Bibi said. “If I were educated, I would have handled this situation quite well, and would not have needed support from any NGO for my children’s education.”

After passing her 8th grade, Fozia had to go to the neighboring village for secondary education, because there was no secondary school in her own village. Going to neighboring village involved huge cost on transportation – something too much for the unfortunate family. Fozia had lost all hope of continuing her education, when a social activist visited her house and asked her mother if she would like to send her daughter to school, both mother and daughter were overjoyed.

Now, thanks to the joint efforts of Girls Education International and Bedari, Fozia is going to school studying in grade 9.

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