Fifth Annual “5 under 40” Awards Event Benefits Barakat

fasting 5k run

On the evening of September 11th, designers from the residential design industry and Bostonians who like great designs and elegant parties, gathered at The Galleria in Boston to benefit Barakat at New England Home’s 5 Under 40 Awards. The Awards spotlight five talented designers from interior design, landscape design, architecture, and other fields, who are selected winners for their uniquely designed rugs. These rugs are then produced by Landry & Arcari Oriental Rugs and Carpeting. Each year, the rugs are auctioned off to highest bidders, with proceeds from the auction benefitting Barakat.


The evening began with attendees networking over small bites and cocktails, before local celebrities Billy Costa and Jenny Johnson began the live auction. The rug designers included J. Brandon Jones (Glen Gate Company, Wilton, CT), Gregory H. Ehrman (Hutker Architects, Vineyard Haven, MA), Alec Tesa (A. Tesa Architecture, Newport, RI), Jill Goldberg (Hudson Interior Designs, Boston, MA), and Pauline Curtiss (Patina, Lincoln, MA). All of the exquisite creations were bid upon earnestly, raising more than $23,000 for Barakat!

Barakat is extremely grateful to all the bidders, donors, as well as New England Home Magazine and Landry & Arcari for hosting this elegant and fantastic event each year. Support like this makes our work of educating and empowering girls and women possible!

Barakat’s 7th Annual Walk for Literacy a Success

Saturday, September 27th, marked Barakat’s biggest day of the year – our annual 7th Walk for Literacy! It was a day of community fun, with a record number of walkers from the Greater Boston area. The day’s proceeds will go towards our schools and literacy programs in Afghanistan and Pakistan; a success that we owe entirely to YOU!

walk 2014

The event began at 9am, when our early-bird walkers came to register, as well as to enjoy the hearty breakfast provided, with special thanks to Dunkin Donuts for their cups o’ joe, and for the amazing breads from When Pigs Fly (Yes, we love the name too!). Once everyone was settled in, it was time to start walking – and walk they did! Amidst perfect, sunny weather, families, school teams, corporate teams, and individuals set off on either the 2.5 mile or 5 mile route around the most scenic parts of Cambridge, which included passing JFK Park, the Charles River, and of course walking through charming Central and Harvard Squares. Post-walk, all participants and volunteers came together for a lunch of delicious Vietnamese sandwiches, coupled with the atmosphere of giving. To see all the photos from the Walk, go here.

Of course, the event would not have been possible without our dedicated team of volunteers working behind and at the scene, as well as our generous corporate sponsors, and YOU – our amazing walkers! We can’t wait for our next Walk – please mark your calendar – Saturday, September 26th would be Barakat’s 8th Annual Walk for Literacy at the same location (Winthrop Park)!

Our special thanks to our corporate sponsors: Landry & Arcari, International Design Guild, Irving House at Harvard, and Eastern Bank. Thank you also to WBUR for providing a generous in-kind publicity for the Walk, as well as to Foodie’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. Finally, we LOVED seeing student teams from the Boston Trinity Academy, Newman School, and Haverhill High.

Looking forward to seeing you all next year!

Barakat Welcome Two New Board Members

Two more exceptional young leaders joined Barakat’s Board of Directors recently: Shweta Srivastava, a Software Developer at Microsoft Corporation in Cambridge, MA, and Shereen Asmat, a Management Consultant at Bain & Company, Boston, MA. Both bring not only country specific knowledge of educational practices (India and Pakistan respectively), but also technical and business acumen that benefits Barakat. Read more about them HERE.

Barakat’s Success in the Students Own Words

For students at Barakat’s schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, education is not only about reading, writing and arithmetic; it is about learning how to think, question and speak for change. Through quality education, our students gain access to opportunities – not only for economic mobility, but also for meaningful engagement with society. They gain the skills they need to actively participate in the construction of strong, healthy, just communities. To be thoughtful citizens. This aspect of education is especially important within groups that have traditionally lacked a public voice in society, such as girls and women: for these persons, building capabilities in critical thinking can truly open minds to the injustices and possibilities of life.

When the students from our schools and literacy programs were asked about the importance of women’s education, their answers reflected this remarkable work that goes on within Barakat’s schools. Here are a few of their responses:

Barakat: Why do YOU think education for women and girls is important?

“Education is a basic human right and educated women are the need of the society” – Mastoora, 18, Afghanistan.

“Every woman has the right to be literate” – Farida, 22, Afghanistan.

“Women are as important as boys are” – Ishaq, 16, Pakistan.

“Our country needs more literate women, and education is an absolute right for women. Education is an important tool in rebuilding our country” – Ameda, 20, Afghanistan.

“Women should become as educated as men – Aziza, 30, Afghanistan. Education is the best way to fight poverty” – Enjilah, 20, Afghanistan.

“Education is the way to have a good life” – Nasima, 20, Afghanistan.

“It is a basic teaching of our religion that education is obligatory for men and women” – Mohib, 15, Pakistan.

“A society that aspires to progress needs educated women “- Rokhshana, 35, Afghanistan.

“An educated population, men and women alike, is at the root of a developing society” – Salmat, 36, Afghanistan.

“An educated public is the basic ingredient of democracy” – Zulfia, 35, Afghanistan.

“Only education can let women know what respect they deserve” – Rozika, 14, Pakistan.