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 →
Have you ever started a garden in a dessert? 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 … Continue reading →
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 … Continue reading →
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!
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!
Padma is one of 10 children in her family. With so many to look after, it was impossible for her parents to pay for all of them to attend a Government School. As a girl, Padma’s prospects looked even dimmer. In Pakistan, there are many cultural traditions that marginalize women. From honor killings to forced marriages to having no voice in the villages- women are taught that they are not worth much.
However, when PEP built a Village LEAP school in Padma’s area,something sparked inside her. Though her parents were illiterate and worked as field hands, because the school fees were so low (about $1 a month) Padma able to attend! She completed Primary School and went on to attend Secondary and High School. She even ranked 1st in her class in the 7th grade!
She then used the confidence, knowledge, and skills that education had given her to be a change agent in her community. She helped start a Women’s Savings Group and a Citizen Community Board that accesses government support for projects like clean water and electricity. Through the Board they also managed to get funding for a building to be used for women’s meetings so their Women’s Savings Group could train women from other villages!
In 2008, Padma began the process of becoming a PEP teacher and was enrolled in the ITEP curriculum. She now not only teaches, but also holds workshops for other local teachers and trains them in creative and effective teaching methods.
What a blessing that a girl who grew up without much hope for a future would learn to burn her candle brightly and light the way for so many other girls!
Padma, second from left, at a Citizen Community Board Meeting.