“I think every community should have a WEG!” Last week we sat down with one of the Master Trainers from one of our areas. He began to talk about the Women’s Empowerment Groups that we began earlier this year in … Continue reading →
The rains are coming. The waters will rise. Right now their school has a teacher, a blackboard, books, and students. They are learning and growing and feeling that perhaps they can achieve their dreams after all. But the rains are … Continue reading →
Teacher training saves lives. When Mansingh first came to PEP training in 2006, he says he felt nervous and very shy. Even though his father was the leader in his village, he didn’t think he had much ability to lead. But … Continue reading →
About two months ago a PEP community in Khipro received 3 hand pumps for their village as a part of our Community Led Total Sanitation efforts. Before the village had hand pumps, the women would have to walk for hours in the hot sun carrying gallons of water on their heads. However, because water now no longer takes so long to access, many of the women find themselves with more time on their hands. One of the reasons some people mention for not sending their daughters to school is that the women they need their help out at home. In addition to improving health, we’re hoping that decreasing the work for the women by building hand pumps will also give their daughters the time they need to go to school.
This particular community realized what a precious gift water was. When someone pumps the water, sometimes the bucket is overfilled or too much water comes out too fast. The villagers wanted to make sure they used this precious resource well. They used their creativity and insight with the excess water and used it to begin a vegetable garden! In dry desert areas, like so many parts of Sindh, it is very difficult to grow vegetables with such little water. Furthermore, this community (like many that PEP works in) is also extremely isolated and buying weekly vegetables is an expensive burden. By building a hand pump, the community is able to not only have clean drinking water closer, but to increase their families’ health and nutrition as well.
What if we each saw our own resources like this community does? What if we took stock of all of our blessings, gifts, and talents and made the most of them? I believe that our gardens and lives would be filled with blossoms and blooms of hope and promise. Give more communities a chance to show off their creativity and sponsor a hand pump today!
What resources do you have to share? How can you use your time, gifts, and abilities more efficiently to create a positive impact on the world around you?
Is your classroom interested in learning about PEP or Pakistan? This class was! Skyping with students is a great way to educated them on the importance of girls’ education, poverty, Pakistan, and what They can do to make a difference! … Continue reading →
This little girl’s school received 3 hand pumps for their village from PEP in efforts to improve health and provide clean drinking water! Celebrate World Water Day and make a donation so more little girls can enjoy clean water!
There is a village in one of the most remote desert areas of Sindh; there are no markets on the corner or small shops down the street. Sand gets caught in your eyelashes and fields of wheat rustle.
Our school here is only 3 months old. With such a young school you might expect to need to do some nurturing- a little encouraging to overcome some challenges that might have arisen, like you would with a young plant. However, when our Monitoring Team visited this school, the students had already sprouted up and were beginning to blossom.
Right now the school children don’t have benches yet, so they simply sit on tarps. You could see them bouncing on those tarps though with unabashed enthusiasm and pride for their school. Three months ago these children were working in fields harvesting crops. Three months ago they were collecting wood to sell. Three months ago their feet were aching from standing up all day and their hands were blistered from wielding a blade for 12 hours to cut feed for animals.
And when they were asked which they liked better- they stood up, their eyes wide, and yelled, “SCHOOL!”
They are beginning to realize that they have something to offer. They are starting to grasp that they are more valuable than a donkey or a camel. They can do more than being a work animal and they can use their beautiful brains. Though only a handful of people have a primary education in the village, the families long to give their children what they never had. They want their children to recognize they are someone worth investing in.
Three months ago they were child laborers.
Today they are students, change makers, hope-bearers, future-planners, and thinkers.
This past February, PEP began our Women’s Empowerment Program! We are thrilled to pilot this program in 30 of our 84 villages. Our Program Coordinator, Hina, has great vision for these women and is excited to get underway. Before implementing any activities or meetings, PEP did an evaluation of the communities so that we would be able to measure and see the impact of the Women’s Empowerment Groups (WEG). The findings of the interviews are both bleak and encouraging. The women’s views on their importance and value are depressing, yet the opportunity for change through these groups is immense. Here is what we found out from the communities and women surveyed:
-70% think that girls need only secondary education (up to 8th class); the other 30% think they only need primary (up to 5th class).
-Only 3 of the 10 villages said that women have some control over how many children they have; in the other 7 villages the men have complete control.
-100% of the villages know that breastfeeding is better than giving a baby animal milk and practice this habit!
-None of the villages have equal wages for women and men.
-40% think it is okay for a man to hit a woman; 40% think it should only be allowed in certain circumstances; 20% think it is not acceptable, but still do not believe the man should be punished for his actions.
-8 of the 10 villages have some plan in place for conflict resolution, though it is directed by the men rather than the entire village; 1 had an egalitarian plan; 1 had no plan at all if a tribal dispute broke out.
-All the women we spoke with had arranged marriages and so will 80% of their daughters. The only daughters that will have some say in who they marry are the ones with an education.
This is only a selection of the questions, but it is a good taste of what the villages PEP works believe. Women from 10 different villages were interviewed, 5 of which will receive WEG and 5 that won’t. Each village had an average of 20-25 women present; they represent a population slightly greater than 5,000 people. Our hope is that a year from now we will go to the communities that had the WEG groups and see much positive change! If you would like to donate to these groups or to further girls’ education, click here (UK donors) or click here (all other donors).
Play with your dog? Ride your bike? Bake cookies with your mom?
When Ali was 10, he did none of these things.
Ali loved school. He felt that his school was a safe place to be, that it gave him strength, and that his “brain got very big,” there. However, the teacher confronted Ali one day and told him that Ali’s father had not been paying his school fees. At PEP schools, every child pays 100 rupees (about $1 or 65 p) per month to ensure they are dedicated to coming to the school and to build community ownership of the school. The teacher thought it was odd that Ali’s parents had not paid, as parents rarely have complaints that the fee is too much of a financial burden for them.
But Ali knew why. Ali’s father was an alcoholic and had refused to go to work to support his family. If his father did go to work, he spent all the money on cigarettes and alcohol. Ali, his mother, and his 3 younger siblings had to start working after school to help buy food for their family. When summer break came, Ali’s father was still not supporting his father so instead, Ali worked everyday in the fields and did jobs around his village so that he could earn enough money to support his family. At the end of the summer, Ali had made enough to keep himself and his 3 younger siblings in school for the next year, to buy a new outfit for each of his siblings, and had money left over to give to his mother for food!
Ali also gained confidence that summer. When school started, he stood up to his father. He told him that he should not be wasting money on alcohol when his family had needs to be met. He even threatened to leave with his younger siblings and move in with relatives if his father didn’t stop drinking. Today, Ali’s father is working more and drinking less. He helped tell this story to PEP because he is proud of his son.
Ali says that he learned determination and courage in school. He said that in school they taught him how to accomplish his dreams. Let us pray that Ali will always remember his dreams and have the courage to fight for them!
How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help? Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action.