Zuhri Batool, 14 years old, is from Saisko, a small village in Basha Valley. She came to Skardu for the first time, with the encouragement of her mother, in order to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor and bringing hope to her community.
After the passing of her father over a decade ago, Zuhri soon realized that she would have to step up in her household in order to help her mother support their family. However, her mother was adamant about giving her children a better life and refused to allow her daughter to walk away from her education for the sake of household work. With her mother’s support, Zuhri continued her education in Saisko through grade 8 and was accepted into the Al Zehra Model School & College in Skardu with a scholarship from Iqra Fund.
Although she is earning good marks and excelling in her studies, Zuhri shares, “For girls like me, it is difficult to leave home. My father died 10 years ago and my brothers are studying away from home. My mother wants me to have a better life with school but it has been hard living far away from her.”
Zuhri Batool’s story is not unique to the girls we provide scholarships for in the cities. Hundreds of girls like Zuhri will be at risk of dropping out without access to middle and high schools near their home villages.
In 2013, Iqra Fund established a scholarship program to support girls like Zuhri who reach the middle or high school level to study in cities like Skardu. Until now, there have only been a few dozen girls each year in those higher grades. Now there are hundreds, soon to be thousands, of girls ready to study at the middle and high school levels. Sending them to the city is no longer the most impactful use of donor dollars nor the best for our students.
The urgency for Iqra Fund to provide village-based middle and high schools is felt more than ever before by our staff in Pakistan. We have everything in place - community demand, local government partnership, and thousands of girls ready to learn. We just need the resources. Join us in our mission to ensure that every girl has access to quality education, regardless of her location or economic background. Together we can create a brighter future for our girls, for Pakistan, and for the world.