Genevieve Walsh first visited Pakistan in 2007 to explore some of the most remote regions of northern Pakistan, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, and eventually Afghanistan. Formerly a girls’ high school teacher in southern Africa and South America, and accustomed to traveling and living in rugged mountain terrain, Genevieve was quickly drawn to what became her life’s work: increasing access to education for all girls, especially those living in the challenging, mountainous regions of northern Pakistan.
Genevieve spent four years conducting her doctoral research to better understand what led to Pakistan’s second highest out-of-school children rate in the world, and what could be done about it. She completed her Doctorate in Education, and founded a progressive international non-governmental organization (INGO) model that partners directly with local community leaders and local governments to establish high quality sustainable school systems. Genevieve and her local Balti team launched Iqra Fund in 2011 and have spent over a decade celebrating its successes. Iqra Fund has established 16 schools in northern Pakistan for the first generation of girls (and boys), with 100% enrollment for girls in each village.
Iqra Fund is now supporting its first university graduates returning to their home villages to start careers in village-based medicine and education. Genevieve continues to research the global and regional geopolitical, economic, and environmental outcomes from educating girls, and believes that Iqra Fund’s 5,000 students to-date are part of a generation that will change the future for Pakistan. Genevieve leads Iqra Fund from her home office in Nevada, with her two children and a Balti-inspired backyard farm with goats and chickens. She travels frequently to Pakistan to support the organization as they scale their reach in the months and years to come.