The first thing Gul Bakht does when she wakes up is pray. After this peaceful beginning, the rest of her day, she says, is “very hectic.” Gul Bakht’s schedule is not that of a typical 15 year-old here in the U.S. She belongs to a poor family in Pakistan and spends her entire day weaving carpet, from early in the morning until late at night. The only time she is not weaving is during the three hours she spends at school.
Students who are in need of health services will once again be able to access free health care from Barakat Afghanistan. Due to government regulations, the health care program was temporarily put on hold until Barakat could obtain official government permission to administer the program.
The program, which operates at both Mullah Karim Nazar School and Besh Kappa Surkh, provides check-ups for all students at the beginning of the school year. Those who are sick at the time of this visit or who become sick during the year get monthly check-ups as well.
In these areas, health treatment is rare. There are no hospitals around and the trip to Kabul is often too much of an economic burden for families to handle. Students with illnesses often miss school or cannot concentrate and perform at their full potential. Healthy students, on the other hand, have much more energy and focus in classes.
Unfortunately, women’s rights are still not implemented or even acknowledged by the vast majority of the Afghan population. Although some improvements have been made in recent years, the situation of women in Afghanistan remains poor. Barakat emphasizes education of women and girls because of the impact that such an education can have on society. The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Afghanistan Human Development Report 2007 highlights the connection between rights for women and children, stating, “gender equality and justice for women provide double dividends, as it benefits both women and children. There is no doubt that healthy, educated, and empowered women are more likely to raise healthy, educated, confident, and successful children who can become positive change agents to create a more prosperous society.”
To help Barakat achieve its mission, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC), has given Barakat a grant to continue our human rights training for the third year in a row.
Check out some amazing women from the region! Both past and present, here are some of the most influencial women of South Asia: