Habibullah Karimi, Co-Founder of Barakat in Boston!-Newsletter 16

Barakat’s cofounders, Chris Walter and Habibullah Karimi, are back together after collaborating long distance for more than a year.  The passions that brought them together more than twenty years ago–carpet weaving and education–remain their focus during this visit.  As conditions in Habibullah’s home country of Afghanistan continue to be strained and Afghan refugees in Pakistan face increasing challenges, the two men continue to make inroads for female education despite the opposition.  

Barakat staff and interns had a unique opportunity to hear from Habibullah and Chris in a Question-and-Answer session at the Barakat office.  These two inspiring individuals also spoke at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) as well as at the Grant Opening for Mohr & McPherson’s new South End rug gallery. 

"Back in the early days we had a rug shop about twice the size of that carpet," Chris reminisced, motioning to an 8′ X 10′ rug.  "We all slept in the shop together on the floor.  It was quite a beginning." 

It was through this close relationship that Barakat’s first school was created.   Habibullah explains: "Barakat was established to be a blessing to the people in the community.  That’s what the word barakat means–blessing.  And that’s what we want to keep bringing to the community, blessings from our work and your work and the vision that we have to provide access to education."

BLISS Article: Newsletter 16

BLISS:  Business and Life Skills School

In Attock, Pakistan, Barakat has been working with the Turkmen community for the last 15 years with its educational programs.  One of the essential features of Barakat’s programs in the host community is to create opportunities for girls education by addressing the community bias against female education. 

When looking at female enrollment in schools in Turkmen communities in Pakistan, it is evident that most parents do not want to send girls to schools as they do not think it is necessary in light of their established perceptions that:

The financial opportunity cost of sending the girls to schools is high. The parents want their girls to learn and work in carpet weaving which has been their profession and source of living for a very long time. 
The parents fail to see why a girl should get even primary education when her role later in life will only be that of a wife and mother. 

To address this issue Barakat has initiated its Business and Life Skill School (BLISS) program.

 BLISS is a model that simultaneously deals with the Turkmen community’s bias against education, and its financial bondage to carpet weaving.  

Read more…

About Malaria

Transmission (Vector)
Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes. Humans can be infected by four types of parasites-Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, and P. malariae. Only an infected Anopheles mosquitoes can transmit malaria. The mosquito itself is infected by when it bites an infected person. Malaria is found in red blood cells, and as such can rarely be transmitted through blood transfusions, organ transplants, shared use of contaminated needles, as well as from mother to child before or during delivery.
Symptoms include fever, chills, headaches, muscle aches, diarrhea, and vomiting 10 days to two weeks after a person is infected. Untreated, these symptoms can persist and cause kidney failure, seizures, mental confusion, coma, and death.
Vulnerable Populations
Malaria is typically found  in tropical and subtropical countries. Young children, pregnant women, and poor communities who are not aware of malaria prevention methods and cannot afford sustained medical care are the most vulnerable. Around the world, a child dies of malaria every 30 seconds. Malaria was the fourth cause of death in children in developing countries in 2002.  In 2006, malaria was present in 109 countries and territories, including sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Europe. In 2006, India had an estimated 10.6 million known malaria cases.


Vector control is the best method of Malaria malaria prevention.  This can be done by using of insecticide-treated bed nets, applying indoor insecticide sprays to the walls and roofs, and reducing or covering of large pools of stagnant water, ideal mosquito breeding environment.
For more information on vector control: WHO Fact Sheet
Early treatment of malaria reduces duration, prevents complications, and reduces chance of death. The World Health Organization recommends immediate treatment, as early as within 24 hours after onset of symptoms.  The best available treatment is a combination of drugs known as artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs). A growing resistance to these medicines is limiting the efficacy of these drugs.
WHO guidelines for Malaria treatment: WHO Fact Sheet