Today I want to share a project that a friend of mine is undertaking.
As I write about this I'm thinking about girls in Pakistan who aren't allowed to learn. I look at my own daughter, my smart, funny, creative daughter and I think about the endless possibilities for her. She can read anything and she knows how to find things out for herself. She can learn anything.
But this is simply not possible for the majority of girls in Pakistan, who are unable to access the resources to learn to read or expand their worlds at all.
Here are some statistics from Myra's Indiegogo page:
6.5 million children under the age of 9 are not receiving any education at all
The female literacy rate for Northern Pakistan stands between 3% and 8%
UNESCO places the overall literacy rate at 26% and the rate for girls and women at just 12%
Of 163,000 primary schools in Pakistan, only 40,000 serve girls. Only 8000 of these are in Northern Pakistan
The severe lack of education in Pakistan is causing increases in ignorance, discrimination and religious extremism. Since 2006 Pakistan has had an average of 30 bombings per year
The Taliban has destroyed more than 400 schools in the north - 70% of them were girls' schools
- Pakistan spends only 2.1 % of its GDP on education
- Poverty is a big hurdle in girls' education. According to UNICEF, 17.6 % of Pakistani children are working and supporting their families. Children working as domestic help is a common phenomenon in Pakistan, and this sector employs more girls than boys.
I met Myra a couple years ago and we immediately connected because of our mutual love for South Asia. (Though at complete odds with one another, India and Pakistan are culturally very similar.) She is a generous hearted, smart young woman and I've had great talks with her about her early life with her parents in Pakistan, where her father founded a charity hospital in a village.
It would be a radical thing for a woman like Myra, a young Pakistani woman, to receive a Harvard education and return to her country to begin reforming education. I can totally imagine her doing it. She has a combination of confidence and humility that is striking, and her love for the people of the villages of Pakistan shines through her. She has been accepted to Harvard, but since she comes from a family of people who have devoted themselves to serving those without money, she cannot fund this education on her own. Again the people of the world, connected by the Internet, can band together to seed educational change in Pakistan in the shape of one woman, armed with a degree and the status that will bring her with the government in Pakistan.
Here is Myra's video:
Here is Myra's IndieGoGo Page. It's well worth a read. I'm sharing this with you because I see it as a real way that we can help with change for Pakistan, for all those young, smart, creative girls who don't get a chance to learn. Please share, especially with people you may know who love this area of the world and long to see its people flourish.