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Pakistan: Educating girls

A successful program tackles and intractable problem.

The impact so far? Some 1,500 girls have graduated from the eighth grade, while 35 percent have finished grade 10, or matriculation, as it is called in Pakistan. In an environment where child marriage was the norm, the completion of grade 10 is a huge achievement.

Another positive trend is students’ involvement in sport, debate and other extra curricular activities like art. Thanks to the confidence DIL and its partners instill in these girl students, they have started competing in inter-school competitions with schools from urban areas. “Girl students from villages who were completely intimidated and subdued even by visitors to a village are confidently not just competing in these competitions but winning. This has had a huge impact on the [village] communities,” Raza said.

Parveen Memon is a model of what DIL has achieved in Pakistan.  As an education promoter, Memon looks after 10 of her area’s schools and her job has given her family an exalted position in her village. She is one of seven sisters and, seeing how well she has done, her parents have admitted one of her sisters into school. Memon has convinced a few other parents, too.

“They realize after seeing me that sending girls to school is more important than sending boys. I tell them that if girls are not educated it will be difficult to get them married and also even if they get married they won’t be respected,” Memon said, giggling at her crafty tactics.