As they approached the landmark Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center (ISBCC) mosque in Boston, a rally of supporters awaited to cheer on the fasting runners who had just completed a 5k run to raise money for schoolchildren in Attock, Pakistan. What started out as a modest effort by a group of friends to raise $2,500 for one school computer lab blossomed into a community wide effort resulting in over $13,000 in donations in a matter of a week. These donations will not only replace a few computers, but revamp the computer labs of all three schools run by Cambridge, MA based nonprofit Barakat Inc. in Attock, complete with desktops and printers.
Barakat’s Literacy Programs
Getting an education for an Afghan woman can be a chancy process, often dependent on luck and timing. Traditional schools are age-restricted, omitting tens of thousands of females. In rural areas, distance to a school can be prohibitive. And there is the ever-present threat of the Taliban.
In order to best work with and accommodate Afghan females, Barakat runs literacy programs at local homes with female teachers in a safe environment. Located in the Faryab, Jowzjan, and Sar-e-Pol provinces of Northern Afghanistan, the lower-level literacy program Sewad Amousi covers grades 1 through 3, while the higher-level literacy program Sewad Hayati covers grades 4 through 9.
Fasting 5K Run for Barakat
Originally started as a small venture spearheaded by a group of friends, the August 3 Fasting 5K Run for Barakat has grown into a nation-wide event that has raised over $14,000 to buy new computers for all five of Barakat’s schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The run’s huge success and the eager participation from cities across the United States—like Boston, Washington, D.C. and Houston—means that it has become Barakat’s newest annual fundraiser.
East Shore Women’s Perspective Potluck Dinner Benefits Barakat
On May 19, long time supporters of Barakat in Pacific Northwest hosted a benefit potluck dinner for Barakat. Over delicious food, prayers, discussion and song, Barakat’s Executive Director Angha Childress provided an insight into the inequality girls and women face in South and Central Asia. She also provided an overview of Barakat’s schools and programs and how the agency is addressing this inequality in Afghanistan and Pakistan.