We are well into 2014 already. Some New Year’s resolutions have been kept, while others are already forgotten. This is the time to find out what matters and what’s working, and then to commit for the long haul.
Given the uncertainty and insecurity in Afghanistan and Pakistan, our collective responsibility for long-term commitment is particularly important to the communities Barakat serves, especially the children and women.
A planned NATO pull-out from Afghanistan this year has dominated the news for much of the last few months. No one knows how it will affect the country’s already fragile peace, stability, and by turn the general population. Already, there is news about how efforts to undermine girls’ and women’s rights-including their rights to education-have been springing up around the country. At a micro-level, such uncertainty further complicates the daily livelihood of the communities Barakat serves. The communities we serve are poorest of the poor, far away from major cities, where people have to deal with harsh winters, have little potable water, and poor access to medical services.
But, Barakat continues to work quietly and diligently amidst such uncertainty. We are committed to continuing our five schools, literacy programs for girls and women, and the Human Rights Teacher Training Program. In 2014, we will have been in Afghanistan for 11 years, and in Pakistan for 20 years.
In 2012-2013, our five schools in both countries saw 2,200 students graduate. Our literacy programs served 415 girls and women in rural Northern Afghanistan. In comparison, this year we have over 4,300 students in our five schools, and over 600 girls and women in literacy programs.
In the stories I hear, it is evident that our students crave education, are committed to learning, and insist on beating the odds-no matter the hardships-to come to school every day. And, it is because of their burning desire to get an education, to understand the world near and far, that we must continue to remain steadfast in our commitment to ensure a bright and peaceful future for them.
You must have heard by now that we are trying to raise $75,000 by February 28th to address some critical needs at our schools: provide multi-year high school scholarships, build classroom libraries, and build playgrounds and sports grounds for our students. Through your generous support, we have already raised $47,000. THANK YOU!
I am hoping that you will join in and remain committed to Barakat, and help us raise the remaining $28,000 by Feb. 28th. Please help us spread the word about this goal by sharing this link with your friends and family.
Please donate to educate and empower thousands of children and women – it is a resolution worth keeping throughout the year! You have been a big part of our success, as always, and we are most grateful for your support.