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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Leaving the Fields to Follow Her Dream - Riffat's Story

In Pakistan, Girls Education International (GEI) partners with a local NGO, Bedari, founded by Dr. Fozia Saeed - a woman who has committed herself to improving the lives of women and girls in Pakistan.  Bedari has grown from a small grassroots organization into a larger more coherent organization with a clear strategic plan, a small paid staff, a board of directors, a team of volunteers and a clear mission: working for protection and promotion of women's and girls' human rights.  The main areas of focus for Bedari are discrimination and violence against women, education, economic empowerment and formulation of explicit laws and their implementation to safeguard women’s rights.

Safeer Ullah Khan is the Communications and Advocacy Manager for Bedari.  Below, in his own words, Safeer shares a story about one of the girls in the education program supported by GEI.  Please see how your contributions to GEI, and therefore Bedari, can impact the lives of young girls in Pakistan.

Riffat Shaheen – a resident of the village Laphi nearly 48 Kilometers away from Chakwal city – was studying in 5th grade, when her father, a patient of diabetes, died. It was a time of great difficulty for her mother Makhtoom Begum – an illiterate woman with five kids to take care of. She had a small piece of cultivable land, which she started tilling on her own. It did help to some extent but was not enough to keep the family in good condition. As Riffat passed her 5th grade examination, her mother stopped her from going to school. Riffat joined her mother in tilling the small piece of land. It was very depressing for her to work in the fields and see her classmates on their way to school passing by her fields. She had no option but to contend with what she had.

Finally, Bedari came to her rescue thanks to the financial support from Girls Education International. She was selected for educational scholarship, which enabled her to join her school after a break of two years. Now she is studying in grade 6. She is very happy. She says, ‘The first day at school when I rejoined was the best and the happiest day of my life’.

Thank you, Safeer for sharing Riffat's story!  Thank you Bedari for ensuring that the girls have these educational opportunities! Thank you to the many GEI supporters who have helped us make this dream a reality for Riffat. 

Don't forget, GEI is still involved in the GlobalGiving Open Challenge until September 30th.  The top goal was to raise at least $4000 from 50 unique donors.  GEI reached this goal within the first two weeks of the challenge, thanks to you!  However, the goodness doesn't have to end there.  If GEI can acquire 1st, 2nd or 3rd place on the leader board in this challenge (as determined by funds raised), then GlobalGiving will award us bonus funding in the amount of either $3,000 or $2,000.  This money will go very far in our Pakistan program!  Please click here to read about our project and make your donation today - every little bit counts!

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