My name is Saba Hakim, and I am working with CWSA as a program coordinator. I lead the teams working on the education projects in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Overall, CWSA works on different things emergency response-related. We have an inclusion program organizational capacity building programs, health projects, and we have education projects. In Afghanistan, we work with the girls’ education program. That one is funded by Act for Peace, and it’s improving girls’ enrolments since high schools are banned — they are closed by the current government in Afghanistan. So, we are working with primary schools — but our female staff is not allowed to work, so we must go through certain protocols to get approvals for these.
Women have a very challenged life here. Being in the desert, most families here are associated with agriculture and farming, but that’s only for certain periods of the year. In winter when they have some rainfall, then they could do this harvesting. Otherwise, they migrate to the areas where there is water and there is irrigation. Sometimes we have identified families who leave their toddlers behind with grandparents and take the children who are eligible or who are strong enough to work with them in fields. The women in these villages, not only look after their houses, but also do the work on lands and in the fields with their male partners.
In addition, they also look after their houses and there is no family planning, they have a few children, and their health is deteriorated since they do not have nutritious food. Their children are mostly malnourished, which is a challenge.
Sending girls to school is another challenge because the villages are far from each other, like 10 to 12 kilometres away, and so they must walk there and back. There are no proper roads, there is no proper transportation services available. Even for health services, they need to walk to access public transport by walking 12 kilometres.
Sending girls to school has other challenges. For example, they might come across stray dogs, they have scorpions and snake bites that are common in those areas. So, parents are very scared to send their small kids to schools in this situation. Here also, girl child marriage is rampant in these areas.
And this is a male-dominated society, as a woman you can’t decide what to do with your own money. Even the women who are earning cannot use their money on their own, they have to give it to their husbands to run the household chores.
We have had several successes, though. Since more emphasis was placed on enrolment, we saw an increase. Initially, 15 targeted schools only have around 1,398 students in all 15 schools. But with our intervention, we got to enrol around 1,384 more. 600 were girls and 784 were boys throughout the schools.
These are very marginalized communities, and they need support, but our team is advocating for them. The support that you are already extending is a lot and we are hoping to have the same in future also.
Local Partner Profile: Church World Service, Asia (CWSA)
Our partner CWSA is working to address the gender gap in education and working to improve the quality of educational opportunities available for girls in rural areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Increased training and professional development opportunities — particularly for female teachers — improves the quality of teaching and through support to community awareness-raising sessions on the importance of girls’ education, you’re helping to ensure girls are able to attend school and learn productively in the classroom.
Your partnership is making a huge difference!
Last month, Act for Peace Partners like you came together and raised $39,050.64 to support people uprooted by conflict and disaster around the world.
- For all those around the world impacted by gender-based violence, particularly those in Afghanistan and Pakistan who are being denied the right to education.
- For our partner staff at CWSA who are campaigning every day for the education rights of girls and women in marginalized communities.
- For all those around the world impacted by poverty and suffering. Please pray for a future that is free from hardship.