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Open Doors Literacy Project in Pakistan

After reading an interview with Mashal, an illiterate 18-year-old girl in NW Pakistan (part of research for a book on global youth viewpoints), I asked Hassan, the interviewer, if she wanted to learn to read. Yes, he said. (Read the interview https://gaylekimball.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=3&action=edit) So my meditation group funded his salary, transportation costs for the students to get from their village by rickshaw to his home, and the Urdu workbooks. Currently, 7 students ages 11 to 23, two boys and five girls, are learning to read and count for the first time. http://opendoorsliteracyproject.weebly.com/ has more photos and reports. If you would like to sponsor a student, make a tax-deductable check to North Valley Community Foundation, with Open Doors Literacy Project in the subject line. Mail to NVCF, 312o Cohasset Rd, Suite 8, Chico, CA 95973. The website also has a PayPal link.

Here’s a report from Hassan, the 18-year-old teacher:

First class went awesome. They learned about 15 pages, writing skill. It was awesome. Mashal’s sister brought her cousin (male) with them as well. He will join the class as well. No extra pay for him. Just gonna buy the books. So altogether it’s 7 people now. I have taken pictures which I’ll send later on. I just got back from college and I am dead tired. I will do different practices with them so that their writing skills develop. Seems like they can talk in Urdu but don’t know how to write or read it so my main focus would be that. It’s pretty exciting. You can’t even imagine how good it feels once they learn something. Today, I showed them how to write the date as well. It was great!

See photographs of the students  https://gaylekimball.wordpress.com/wp-admin/upload.php

Comments on: "Open Doors Literacy Project in Pakistan" (7)

  1. Teacher Hassan reports Mashal’s mother won’t let her come to class because she thinks her future husband–she hasn’t met him–won’t like all the traveling from village to town, but her younger siblings are attending:
    “Last time I talked to her, she said her mother is right and she can’t come to class though she so much wants to come but her marriage is more important than learning to read and write. She is right on her behalf though. She is engaged and she doesn’t want to risk her daughter’s future for this. So risks apart, she would want her rest of the kids to join the classes daily and learn to read and write.”

  2. http://hdr.undp.org/en/
    Read the UN Human Development Report for an overview of global poverty, progress and lack of progress.

  3. We raised $400 for the project with a showcase of dances from around the world. Here’s the state dance of California.

  4. Hassan Saeed said:

    I would like to use this platform and thank all those people who are donating to this project and making things possible here in Pakistan. I told the students how you guys are so generous in donating and helping them study. I’ll try to translate the exact same words I got from them. One of the students said, “If they are such good people. why do hear bad stuff about them everyday”. One of the girl said, “My perception about America is changed now. They are providing us with free of cost education and also covering our travel costs to the school. What else do we need. At least they are better than our Government”. In short, they are delighted and on behalf of them, I thank you ALL who have been donating to this great Program and I also urge the rest to kindly take this opportunity and enlighten at least a single student’s life.

    Thank you.
    Teacher Hassan
    Peshawar Pakistan
    Coordinator Open Doors Literacy Project

  5. Thanks! Greg Mortenson was right, education is the key to peace. We appreciate you getting up early and teaching! Best, Gayle

  6. The US also has literacy problems, as explored in Karl Weber, ed. Waiting for “Superman:” How We Can Save America’s Failing Public Schools. Public Affairs, 2010.

    A report called A Nation At Risk: The Imperative for Educational Reform warned in 1983 about “a rising tide to mediocrity” in US schools. Despite billions of dollars ($9,000 per student), legislation like No Child Left Behind, and experiments with charter schools and home-schooling, the problems persist–as documented in the 2010 film and book Waiting for “Superman.” Comparing 30 developed countries, the US ranks 25th in math and 21st in science. It has one of the lowest high school graduation rates in the industrialized world and produces only 15% of the world’s college graduates. The top colleges draw students from high-income families. Barely half of Black and Latino students graduate from high school, compared to 76% of white kids. More than 1 million students drop out of high school each year. The dropouts fill expensive prisons and don’t pay taxes. Teacher turnover is high. Most states report students are only 20 to 30% proficient in math and reading. New jobs require high skills like computer programming, but less than half of the new jobs will have skilled workers available to fill them in 2020. The education crisis endangers US ability to compete in the global marketplace, states Geoffrey Canada in Chapter 10.
    Educator Canada developed the successful Harlem Children’s Zone. As with other world problems, he points out solutions and models are readily available. His program worked with a ten-year growth plan and refused to give up on even the toughest kids. He says the traditional public school system needs to be changed. More time in school is needed. Education needs to begin before kindergarten and take place after-school and outside of school, as in his program. If a school leader isn’t effective, he or she should be removed. Great teachers are the key to success, so good ones need to be rewarded with higher salaries and provided with continuing professional development.
    The Gates Foundation has also been studying how to change the failing US education system. Bill Gates agrees with Canada that the system is outmoded (Chapter 11). The learning model is archaic so high school students are bored. Technology belongs in the classroom. Not surprisingly, the Foundation’s studies found that great teaching explains the difference in student achievement and thus launched Intensive partnerships for Effective Teaching in 2009 to transform how teachers are recruited and retained. Gates points to a Pittsburgh pilot program that reward teachers with extra pay if their students make academic gains. High standards, as in the Common Core Standards initiative are necessary for high achievement. Additional characteristics of successful schools and how to influence them are explained in Chapter 12.

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