Saleema Rehman has worked hard throughout the years with one goal in mind: to fulfill her and her parents’ dream of becoming a doctor. When Saleema was born, her parents pledged to do everything in their power to educate their daughter so that she could one day become a doctor. Finding a doctor for Saleema’s mother during her illness had proved so difficult that making Saleema a doctor became their greatest goal. Circumstances, however, were not on their side. Saleema’s family fled their home in 1984 and lived as refugees in Pakistan. As a refugee and a Turkmen, one of Afghanistan’s minorities, Saleema had much to overcome. Being a girl only added to the challenges she faced.
On March 15, 2010, Damon Luloff stepped down as the Director of Barakat, a post he has held for the past two-and-a-half years. Barakat’s Board of Directors has established a transition committee composed of board members and staff to administer the organization until a new Director has been named.
Regarding Luloff’s departure, Ed Scribner, Chairman of the Board, said, “We deeply appreciate the accomplishments that Damon has achieved in the short time that he served as Executive Director. In less than three years, he significantly transformed the organization by assisting the Board to clarify Barakat’s mission, by creating an effective organizational structure, by attracting talented staff and volunteers to work in a greatly expanded office, and by developing a state of the art website.”
Attempting to endure the harsh winter months, students in Faryab Province, Afghanistan often do not have sufficient clothing to keep them warm. Tolerating below freezing temperatures, young children often walk to and from school without a coat. With wind chills near zero, bearing these types of conditions can keep students home, greatly distract them from learning and cause illnesses that keep them in bed. For 607 students at Barakat’s Mullah Kareem Nazar School, however, this is no longer the case.
According to the Human Development Index, Pakistan ranks among the bottom 15 countries in literacy. The literacy rate among women in Pakistan is only 36 percent, with an overall rate of 50 percent. About 25 percent of the children are not enrolled in primary schools, and 50 percent of those enrolled drop out before completing primary school. Many factors contribute to this reality, including the lack of health care. Students without access to health care are much more susceptible to dropping out. Their lack of education leaves them with little hope for the future, and isolates them from society.