“I believe that education is as vital as food and water,” says Zaira Zehra. “Although I have seen so many people forgo their own education or that of their children due to a lack of resources, I think that every problem can be solved with determination and so we should never give up on the fight for education.”
Zaira is one of Iqra Fund’s first scholarship students, starting from high school and now into her advanced degree. She is also one of the most highly educated girls from her region of northern Pakistan, and with Iqra Fund’s support, she has helped pave the way for other girls in the area to go to school. “Many parents around here are not educated, so it is difficult for them to see the value of education for their children versus the benefit of marrying them off early or having them work in the fields and tend to the animals.”
In 2011, Iqra Fund was founded after years of researching barriers to girls’ education in remote tribal regions of Pakistan. Putting that research into action, Iqra Fund was launched to support the first generation of girls and boys to go to school from the most remote regions of Pakistan.
Iqra Fund only works in communities where they are formally invited, and within a year of their founding, they had enough proposals to keep them busy for decades to come. They have identified over 105,000 school-aged girls in Gilgit-Baltistan alone who are not in school.
Iqra Fund has far exceeded their dreams with more than 2,400 students receiving a quality education thanks to the efforts of 64 teachers in four districts of Gilgit-Baltistan. In the past five years of working in Pakistan, Iqra Fund continues to hear mothers say some version of the following, “I want an education for my daughter so she has more opportunities and a better life than my generation”; a dream many of us also share for these girls.
Learn more at iqrafund.org