Providing education for girls in Pakistan
As part of our charity work in Pakistan, Concern is working to provide education for girls in the country. Currently there are 32 girls enrolled in the Concern-funded Dhangran tailoring school.
The local community identified the need for the Dhangran tailoring school because there was no other educational facility in the area for girls. The school now attracts girls from all the surrounding villages. In such a remote and tough area, the girls who attend the school say that, as well as teaching them a valuable skill, it also gives them an opportunity to meet and swap stories. Before the school was created they would only meet accidentally, or at big social events like weddings.
When Afsana Biba heard about the school she asked her parents could she attend because she didn’t go to regular school and wanted to be able to learn a skill. Although she has only been in attendance for the past two months, she is obviously a quick learner; she displays a pretty dress she made for one of the local children. Afsana, who travels on foot for five kilometres to get to the school every day, says that being there gives her confidence. When she becomes more competent she intends to earn money for her family by stitching the clothes of others in the community.
Afsana is joined in the school by Samina Masood, who is 17. Samina had recently completed her metric exams (which is the equivalent to the Junior Certificate in Ireland or GCSE in the UK), but because her school is so far away she has to continue to FA levels (which is the equivalent to the Leaving Certificate in Ireland and A-levels in the UK) at home. Her parents encouraged her to attend the tailoring school because they thought it would be good for her to learn a skill in the meantime. She says that she really likes the course and would like to go on to learn more about embroidery when it is finished.
Obviously determined and ambitious, Samina says that when the tailoring course is completed, she has two options. She can either open her own tailoring school or use the money she earns from stitching to fund her further studies. Her dream is to go on to university to become a regular school teacher. Meeting her, there is no doubt that she has the focus and quiet confidence it will take to realise her dream.