A Resolution Worth Keeping

Dear Friends,

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.

Warmly,

Angha Childress
Executive Director

Mark Your Calendars for Barakat’s 7th Annual Walk for Literacy

wfl

Barakat’s signature awareness and fundraising event is coming up on Saturday, September 27th at 10 AM! 

Every year this event has proven to be an effective way to spread the word about Barakat’s mission of promoting basic education, and it has allowed countless people a significant part in raising the funds that make our work possible. This year’s 7th annual walk will be bigger than ever because we are taking it NATIONAL!

By hosting this event in multiple cities across the country, we hope to provide a chance for more people with a passion for global education to join Barakat’s efforts. All proceeds from this event will benefit our literacy programs for girls and women, and we are excited to see what impact expanding the walk will have this year! Set aside the date now, because we are looking forward to seeing you all in September! 


One To One

Linda Bond is a visual artist working with drawing and installation, and a visiting scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University. Currently she is developing an art installation that collaborates directly with women from Afghanistan in partnership with Barakat.

For the project, each woman will make a tracing of her own hand and develop an embroidered, woven or sewn design from it. Installed collectively, the hand images will signify power, strength, blessing, protection, and justice. Prints and bags generated from some of the designs will be sold at a modest price and the proceeds used for continued production.  Twenty women and girls in Afghanistan, who are currently in literacy programs, have already created sample bags.

linda

The goal of the project is to bring attention to the women’s struggles, to provide an opportunity for them to participate in a project that will support their education, and to empower them through a public exposure that will generate more opportunities.


Barakat Featured In New Book On ‘Branding’

In 2012, Barakat embarked on a process of rebranding, which has resulted in a more refined website and a clarification of the organization's mission, including a new logo and a visual identity that compliment our revised mission.

Our Executive Director, Angha Childress, was recently asked to share her experience about the importance of developing a brand in the nonprofit sector, particularly at Barakat, for a new book, The Brand IDEA: Managing Nonprofit Brands with Integrity, Democracy, and Affinity.Nathalie Laidler-Kylander, a public policy lecturer at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government, and Julia Shepard Stenzel, a consultant to nonprofits, authored this book that emphasizes the creation of a brand that is anchored in mission, allows for partner participation, and promotes clarity and collaboration. Concerning Barakat and branding, Angha explained that Barakat's vision statement supports the fundamental human right to education, which is reflected as brand identity throughout Barakat's entire organization. Angha also described how a team of Barakat employees, volunteers, and constituents worked together to consider the best way to connect mission with identity.

Barakat's experience demonstrates the values of branding and of allowing for a participative process, which are described more fully in The Brand Idea. Visit the book's website, to buy the book, read Angha's interview, and to learn about experiences/stories from other leading nonprofits around the world.