- Posted January 31, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Girls + Education: Your message
"Educate a Girl. Empower a Nation."
This is Alia Haq. Her story is like millions of young girls in Pakistan: a life challenged with struggles, multiple barriers and obstacles. In a small village near Rahim Yar Khan, young Alia was being forced to drop out of primary school. A family handicapped by poverty and dire circumstances had to pull their children out of school. Alia, instead of working on a math problem, was forced to work around the house and tend a barn.
Human Development Foundation (HDF), a leading organization in comprehensive humanitarian development work in Pakistan, has been proactively championing educational reforms, especially for girls.HDF runs education enrollment campaigns through out the year to ensure out of school children are enrolled in school. HDF’s Community Social Mobilization team, upon learning of Alia’s situation, persuaded her parents to send their children back to school. Alia was admitted to HDF’s Elementary & Secondary school, performing exceptionally well and graduating with honors from high school. Her younger siblings are now studying in HDF schools at different grade levels. Alia herself has received a college scholarship to pursue her Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science.
Despite all the hardships in her life, Alia has a very positive outlook towards life. She is determined and focused, stating,”…I want to get a job to ease my family’s financial burdens and do something for my village.” She ultimately wants to pursue her Master’s degree in the future.
"There is no doubt that HDF is doing amazing work in our community and came to help us when no one else did. The confidence I gained and the belief instilled in my that I can change my life is the most valuable thing I’ve benefited from. This has helped me find a purpose in life, and I hope I can do the same for people in my community.” -Alia Haq-
This exceptional girl wants to bring change in her family and community, and break the cycle of poverty. HDF’s Holistic Model, starting from it’s Social Mobilization to its Education Program, provided Alia with a strong foundation of opportunities and resources.
Poverty, cultural constraints, and an inadequate supply of resources hinder progress for development. It is hard to imagine that there are millions of girls in Pakistan like Alia, who are not as fortunate to reach their full potential or capacity. HDF envisions the future of Pakistan’s girls to be healthy, literate, and aware of their rights and leadership capabilities. HDF's goal is to help them transform their lives and their communities by providing them the skills for self-efficacy and autonomy. Investing in girls’ education is the most effective global solution to eliminate gender disparity and break the cycle of poverty.
The majority of children, especially girls, in rural areas of Pakistan are illiterate. Children receive primary level education in remote areas if they are fortunate enough to be able to attend school, and have an educational institution that is consistent. Most schools often lack adequate resources for children to obtain a full and comprehensive education that will assist them in their future
The majority of girls do not continue onto secondary education due to poverty, low priority given by families to educating daughters, and lack of transportation to distant secondary schools due to the absence of secondary schools for the girls in their villages.
When primary and secondary education are combined, Pakistan has nearly 25 million out of school children. There is low emphasis on providing educational opportunities to all school aged children, especially to girls. HDF's Education & Literacy Program is an ongoing project, and our goal is to support our students well beyond the classroom setting.
Education empowers girls to develop confidence. It prepares them for leadership skills and encourages civic action, while increasing participation within their own community. It truly is the only chance to escape the cycle of poverty for the next generation of children, their families and their communities. On a comprehensive, overall scale, it allows them to rise out of poverty, improving their families' health, economic status, and well being. Education truly is the solution to change the lives of countless girls like Alia, who are able to achieve their dreams, ambitions, and goals.
Learn more about Human Development Foundation at www.HDF.com