Although March was a busy month for the women doing Adult Literacy training, but what they learned through the training has been far more rewarding.
The Adult Literacy Training has a huge impact on the women who come from different villages. For most women, it was the first ever experience of going out of their village and coming to PEP for training. They were very nervous on their first day of training, and many were only holding a pencil for the first time. However seeing this scenario did not let the trainers down, but with constant encouragement the trainers were helping women to speak, read, and write. The first day of the training began with a group of women who had no idea what they could learn, but the last day of the training there were women who were proudly showing copies of their writing to each other, and sharing much about their experience about the overall Adult Literacy Training.
Speaking their heart out
What does the future of Adult Literacy Education hold for the women of rural Sindh?
The Female Adult Literacy education is like raining opportunity for women in rural Sindh. This is a raining opportunity because women will have long term benefits of education. In many villages, women are still considered as weaker gender who don't not have equal rights as men do, but through the Adult Literacy Education, the women will have their own understanding and knowledge which will open up a way to have their own opinions, and voice. They will have respect, their own identity, and their own position.
The Aflatoun day was a memorable event for PEP students. They had been waiting weeks for the big day to arrive, and finally on 17th March students from different schools gathered together in the PEP hall to celebrate what they call, "Aflatoun Day!"
What did this day look like for PEP students
Aflatoun day was special for PEP students because they got to meet with each other from different villages and learned about each other's Aflatoun groups and activities. This was important for the encouragement and inspiration of all students.
Further, the students were shuffled in groups to get them interact and do things together as a team. They were all gathered in the PEP hall where they got to enjoy different activities such as, face painting, hand tracing drawing, and making Aflatoun charts. What fascinated children the most was getting a unique opportunity to skype with the Aflatoun leaders in the Netherland's and Srilanka. The children were slightly nervous, but extremely excited about the idea of getting to talk face to face with new people.
This opportunity was necessary for students as it made a lasting impact on their memories and encouraged them to continue being Aflatoun members.
Finally, to make Aflatoun day memorable, the children marked the celebration by flying air balloons on the PEP terrace and performed a little cake cutting ceremony.
What is Aflatoun Accomplishing For PEP Students:
Aflatoun is a program known for its major purpose to provide children with Social and Financial Education. This program became a part of PEP in 2012, and has since made a valuable impact on the minds of many PEP students. The Aflatoun program prepares children to live a wiser and successful life through learning from a very interactive curriculum and engaging activities that equip them for the future.
Students who have been taught through this program share testimonies of personal impact for them. Further, the children who are in present the members of Aflatoun every day learn mind-opening concepts that are helping them become a better version of themselves.
The purpose of the visit was to assess the learning progress of women groups from Menghwar village (Khawaja) where PEP started Female Adult Literacy Center last year in 2016. The women of Menghwar community at Khowaja are very active because they know how to use their opportunities. They have recently been provided with the opportunity to use Android tablets and have made a great use of it by integrating the Android Tablets in the Adult Literacy Curriculum.
Before Female Adult Literacy Center was established in Menghwar village, these women were simple house wives, working in their homes and working in the fields, but they had no opportunity to grow. When they heard that an Adult Literacy Center was being opened through PEP, many women expressed their wish to receive an education.
As the Adult Literacy Center opened for women, soon their progress was visible. Women were beginning to read small words and make sentences by themselves. They were beginning to write which was an unbelievable result for most women.
Looking at the great difference they were making in the Adult Literacy Programme, PEP decided to open another great opportunity for women through providing Android Tablets as a part of the Adult Literacy curriculum.
As the women started learning how to use the Android tablet, they shared some wonderful comments about their experience.
"We had no idea that a person can learn almost everything form an Android Tablet. We thought the Android tablet is only shown to us to know what it is, but understanding that we will continue it as a part of our course makes us feel fortunate and happy.
Being able to learn from an Android Tablet is a huge opportunity for women like us because a few years back, unlike the educated we were not even able to hold a pencil. And now having this opportunity has made us believe in ourselves and the people in our village look at us in a very respectful way."
The purpose of providing such opportunities to rural women in Sindh is to empower them and make them believe that they too have a significant purpose in the growth of their society, and that they can use their abilities to bring change.
When during the visit further questions were asked regarding the future of the Adult Literacy Centers, the women shared that they were very keen to continue the centers and were willing to contribute to the cost of buying more tablets.
They are willing to take action and share this course with other women in other villages.
My name is Nena Kumari. I belong to Menghwar community from rural Sindh. I am 10 years old and I study in a PEP school. My father's name is Hero and he is a hand pump mechanic. I am the youngest in my family and the first one out of six siblings to go to a school.
When I was born, my parents were not very happy because I was a girl, but they had to take care of me. When I was growing up, I started helping my mom in taking care of the house. My parents were happy with me until one day I requested them for letting me go to a school.
One day I saw some boys going to school and I peeped through the school window to see what they were learning. I saw that the teacher was using different objects to teach the children which amazed me. I asked my mom if I could join school, but she said no.
I was upset and confused and thought maybe I can talk to my father. When he said that I could go I was very happy, but my mom was not happy with the idea of me going to a school and she tried to convince my father that she needed me at home for work.
My father didn't want to stop me because he thought I was irrational and he was much convinced that a few days I might stop going to school by myself. But I continued and I am still studying.
I remember the first day of my school, I was very happy because the teacher taught lessons through actions, songs, on mud and played games. It was difficult for me to understand first because our teacher taught us in English, but I remember I had started learning to speak broken English in a few months. I was committed with myself that every day I would come to School and learn new words. As I learned to read and write I was able enough to speak in English. My parents could not believe that I was learning so much and when other girls saw me coming to school, some more 15 to 20 girls started coming too.
In our School we have an girls Aflatoun group, of which I am the leader. Every week we arrange a meeting to learn about our problems and how to use our savings properly. I remember my father telling me once that he didn't have money for my School fees and I might have to leave the school. But because of the Aflatoun savings, I told my father that he didn't have to worry about giving my fees. When I paid my own fees my father felt very proud of what I did. That was the day when my father realized the importance of education.
After School when I come at my home do my lunch and teach my older sisters as well. They don't go to a school but they want to learn to read and write. In the evenings I also help my mom to cut grass from field.
Women Empowerment group:
In our village PEP has started a group as "Women Empowerment Group." I also join that group once a month for awareness and importance of education especially for girls. I know it is difficult to encourage the older women but I sit with them and share my thoughts.
My Aim in my life:
Everybody dreams but there are only some people who actually follow their dreams. My dream is to become a TEACHER. The reason why I want to be a teacher is that In our village, people don’t want to send their daughters to school and they are thinking giving education for girls is not important and they don't need it because there first priority is work at home. I have to show all of them through my education and being a teacher. I will teach in this School and also be a role model for villagers and girls.
This month new local teachers are selected from rural Sindh to receive Initial Teacher Training (I.T.E.P) at PEP. The teachers include some of the PEP graduates who have studied in the PEP schools and are now selected to teach in their own school. The purpose for selecting PEP graduates is to help give them an opportunity to use what they've learned for other students and creating a platform to give an experience for better jobs.
I.T.E.P is a unique opportunity for teachers to do something that will change their life because of what they will be giving to their community through education.
In most communities of rural Sindh, many children have been deprived of education for a number of reasons, such as, unawareness, distance, cultural pressures (specifically for girls that push them towards early marriage), bonded labor, and poverty. Due to these sensitive issues, PEP decided to open schools inside villages to give more awareness about the importance of education and helping children to do something better for their life by having an opportunity to receive education.
In addition to schools, PEP has a special outlook for children's academics for which the I.T.E.P course was designed in order to use the effective teaching tools for the growth of children giving them the necessary skills and knowledge to build on for an educated future.
The Initial Teacher Training (I.T.E.P) is a one year course having 5 day residential training 4 times during the year. The 5 day residential training quips teachers for fuel teaching and gives them the ability to make lasting impact on the students of PEP schools.
This video shows the teachers together learning phonics through Letter Land songs.
Love is the best gift the world can ever have.
We hope that Valentine's day must have been a very special day for you, and we too have the perfect Valentine's story to share.
We received a wonderful response from many local supporters as a result of promoting the Gift Box Campaign for PEP students.
The Gift box campaign was part of a local campaign which was set up during mid- October with a focus to encourage and support PEP students. We believe when children in rural areas come to school and work hard despite facing many cultural challenges, an extra cheer would only increase their motivation to study, and keep them in school.
PEP had a target to reach 1000 PEP students till December from different villages in rural Sindh, and share with them Gift Boxes that included school bags, stationary, warm clothes, copies and books.
We promoted and shared the message of our campaign with as many friends as we could, reaching out on facebook, text, emails, cards and even reached people who never knew about PEP before. As days went further, the number of gifts kept growing, heaping up in to rewards for children.
Starting from December, the little gift boxes have been distributed in different schools of PEP and are still being distributed as more boxes from our supporters keep coming in. This is an ongoing campaign that has become a philanthropic culture in PEP as well as a circle of love which we intend for to keep getting bigger this year.
We invite you as well to get involved with us and make this campaign a larger way to share love with the children of rural Sindh.
Introduction: Today in rural Sindh, many assessment tests in private and government schools are being conducted to analyze a student's progress. The ministries of education are working everyday through assessments to ensure accessible learning standards for children. A number of common assessment tests used by the government and private institutions in Sindh are, ASER (Annual Status Of Education Report), Sindh Student Achievement Test, Diagnostic Assessment, and EGRA (Early Grade Reading Assessment) for young learners.
Something New: A newly developed international test named Tangerine, is going to take place in the PEP schools, rural Sindh where children for the first time are going to be entirely assessed through digital system.
This digital assessment app is being used across the globe for measuring children's progress. It is developed by the RTI International and has been used in countries including India, Uganda. Ghana, Nigeria and Bangladesh.
Tangerine assessment is an excellent initiative for the schools of Primary Education Project as the local teachers and school management committee will learn an easy way to conduct tests within a small amount of time and gathering quality data.
Tangerine App Features:
Tangerine is easy to use and compatible with a number of mobile devices and local languages. The application uses open source software libraries and requires limited internet access only when saving assessments and uploading results to the server.
In addition to measuring students' reading and math skills, Tangerine can be used for questionnaires and surveys for students, parents, teachers, and principals as well as school and classroom inventories.
Tangerine maximizes cost efficiency by saving paper, field work, and time and is equipped with validation and quality assurance features so assessors can concentrate more on the results and less on the data collection process.
Tangerine provides consistent and reliable data with fewer measurement and data errors normally caused by human error. Test scoring and reporting take a fraction of the time so schools and policymakers can have immediate access to the data and respond effectively to the needs of their students.
This test is conducted through the Android Tablet which saves papers and time as well. The Tangerine test will be conducted in 5 schools where PEP is initiating the E-Learning to measure the impact of promoting E-learning system. The names of the schools where Tangerine assessment is to be implemented:
Wasto Bheel Primary School.
Jhalo Jamadar Primary School.
St. Mary Elementary School.
Abdul Jabar Brohi Primary School.
Okaf Khatoo Primary School.
When early education (or primary education) finishes playing its role in a child's life, there comes an advance learning to facilitate the growth of that child when reaching adolescence. The advance learning means to integrate a wide range of social, emotional and cognitive skills to help children and youth thrive in ever changing times.
This is where the programme of Aflateen dives in and introduces rational and economic concepts to help children and the youth constitute better living standards. Through the Aflateen programme, our project strives to equip the youth of rural Sindh with life skills that will empower them them to become economically successful and valuable citizens bearing purpose in life.
Watching Mangal's story is important to learn how Aflateen groups in rural Sindh are taking initiatives, such as starting small businesses and building economical ways to improve rural living.
Watch Mangal's Small Business Here On Vimeo!
9/11 being the most unexpected day had a shattering impact on all the lives who were linked to it as well as those, like us, who could only see the world of the affected families breaking apart.
Still 15 years after the attack, a question occurs on the minds who pass ground zero, "Why innocent lives had to slay in the name of terrorism?"
The violent issue of terrorism after the 9/11 attacks has grown to the skies and the isolation can be felt in all parts of the world. Because of the spreading terrorism, there seems to be an uncertainty in the approaching future. But, on our part we can press on the hope for something better by making even the tiniest difference on our side of the world.
This tiny difference can open doors for some futures. But How?
The answer is, "Safer World Fund".
What is the Safer World Fund?
The Safer World Fund (formerly the philanthropic arm of Our Voices Together) began as a response of family and friends of loved ones killed in the terrorist acts of 9/11. It is now engaging many people who recognize how individuals can help fight terrorism. By supporting primary education, vocational training, and health care, these projects offer opportunities to impoverished people in the poorest areas of the world, especially girls and women.
Starting September 7, 2016 and continuing until all funds are depleted, all contributions to Primary Education Project through www.globalgiving.org will be matched 50%, giving an extra boost to the impact your contributions will have.
Donations starting from the least amount up to 1,500 $ will be matched by the Safer World Fund ensuring education for children and especially girls in PEP schools, rural Sindh Pakistan.
The Terms and Conditions for donating:
"Giving is not just about making a donation,
It's about making a difference."
By Kathy Calvin, President of United Nations Foundation.
For us, the message of Giving is a way to offer the many children in rural Sindh an education that will have a lasting impact on a child's life.
How can you help in advancing a child's future?