Yesterday I walked over to the the school for which we are trying to build a building, and was able to watch the girls studying and to speak with their teacher. Right now the girls (about 50 of them) study at their teacher’s house, and are scattered in their various class groups along her verandah and courtyard. Only about a quarter of them are actually sitting under fans (that only work when the electricity is working), while the rest have to make do with shade. The girls range from pre-k to grade five, and while the government provides them with textbooks, some of them are too poor to buy the notebooks and pencils they need to study. One teacher, also provided by the government (who is paid a salary of about 60 USD per month) has to oversee the lessons of all 50 girls. The girls are also unable to afford uniforms (one of the indicators used by the general populace to identify better schools in Pakistan).
Students and teacher sit in the heat, and try to push through lessons that run from about 8:30 in the morning to about noon, although officially class is supposed to begin at 7:00 am and end at 1:00 in the afternoon. The curriculum given to them by the government is in Poshto, the tribal language of this north-west region of Pakistan, and the village is in a rural enough place that both Urdu (the national language) and English (the official langauge) are taught as foreign languages, as no one in Kangra actually speaks either of the two often or well. The girls will be on a one month break from June 10th, and we hope to begin building their two-room school building then. The 6,000 USD we have already raised is now here in Pakistan and ready to be spent on building supplies and wages for laborers. If the contractors work quickly the school should be done by the time I come back to Kangra in September. Until the building is ready and we can begin overhauling the curriculum and teaching system, I am doing my best to provide the girls with whatever basic school supplies they currently don’t have, and with the fans and uniforms that will make their education more pleasant and legitimate.
More on my project soon to come, and please feel free to take a look at the pictures that I haven’t included in these blog posts: Most recent pictures from Pakistan