Teacher Training Completed for the Year

The final Teacher Training Workshop for Human Rights for the 2010-11 school year recently wrapped up in Afghanistan. The program began in 2008 with a grant from the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) and is run in collaboration with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). This year, we increased the number of programs by 30 percent, equipping 180 teachers in human rights training.

This year Barakat responded to an increased demand for training and welcomed teachers from non-Barakat schools to attend the program. The workshops saw their highest number of female participants so far at 85. Most sessions had four or five trainers, including at least one woman, and next year we aim to have even more female trainers.

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BLISS Project Making Progress

The founder of the BLISS project, working with Barakat students in Pakistan, was recently accepted as a 2011 Unreasonable Institute Fellow!  Saba Gul will join 25 other social entrepreneurs from around the world in a prestigious 6-week program to receive skills training, mentorship, access to seed capital and valuable networking opportunities.  Congratulations, Saba!

The Unreasonable Institute is named after the Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw’s famous saying, “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in adapting the world to himself.  Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

To attend the Unreasonable Institute, Saba had to be among the first 25 social entrepreneurs to raise $8,000, a test of their capacity to mobilize a large number of supporters in a short period of time.  BLISS was one of the first competitors to meet this goal, with donations from 212 sponsors.  

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New Jolkona Foundation Partnership

Barakat has started a new partnership between the Girls Scholarship Program and Jolkona Foundation, an organization that helps connect donors to charitable causes.  Jolkona means “drop of water” in Bengali and represents the idea that every drop adds up to create a ripple effect of change.  Jolkona has connecteddonors with Barakat’s literacy courses since 2008, but this new partnership will help educate even morestudents at our schools.

There are two ways to support the Girls Scholarship Program in Pakistan through Jolkona: A donation of $235 enables a student to continue her education at a private high school for one year, while a donation of $110 allows a student to attend a public high school for one year.

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Barakat Connects Young Women Around the World

When seventeen-year-old Molly Friedman discovered how difficult it is for a young Afghan woman to get an education, she knew she had to help. Raised in a small coastal town north of Boston, Molly explained that “problems like these are known but not elaborated on.”

In order to address this issue, Molly decided to host a fundraiser to benefit Barakat’s Girls Scholarship Program, aiming to both increase awareness within her community and raise money for one of Barakat’s students. With the help of thirty classmates at her high school, Molly planned and organized “An Acoustic Afternoon,” a benefit concert featuring local bands and a raffle for food and prizes. In addition to students and parents, many community members attended the event, which was held on a crisp, fall day.

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