15 Years Monika Girls High School in Bagrot Valley (Pakistan)
School Education makes a Difference !
221 students attend Monika Girls High School today. 15 years ago there were only 22. The girls' school is located in the high mountains of northern Pakistan, in the Bagrot valley. It has 10 classes, the older students come from all villages of the 25 km long valley. For the possibility of attending school they take on arduous footpaths on partly rough terrain in summer and winter. Parents praise the quality of teaching and teachers the friendly and undisturbed working environment. Ninety-five primary school pupils are taught in the morning. In the afternoon, 8 privately funded teachers teach 126 secondary school pupils in the subjects of Urdu, English, Mathematics, Home Economics, Natural History, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Religion, Pakistan Studies and Arabic.
The costs for the 8 secondary school teachers amount to 310 € per month.
The two small school buildings are bursting at the seams. 3 additional classrooms and a toilet section are near completion. This construction project is financed by the government.
44 graduates of the 10th class regularly attend afternoon classes in the 11th and 12th grade. The small private college for girls exists since 2 years. 5 teachers teach Urdu, English, Mathematics, Social Studies, Religion, Pakistan Studies, Sociology and Education.
The costs for the 5 college teachers amount to 200 € per month.
School Education does make a Difference
195 girls have successfully completed secondary school over the past 15 years. 63 graduates have the college degree F.A. from secondary schools outside the valley. (12th grade), and 5 young women already have their B.A. (14th grade). Meanwhile, 40 former female students work as teachers, nurses and mobile health consultants, mostly in the Bagrot valley. The former and new students are now very self-confident - at home and at school, 15 years ago unthinkable.
On New Paths
This year, for the first time, we have awarded four scholarships to visit the BASE Public School. This still young private school is the only school in the valley with mixed classes and uses English-language teaching materials in most of the subjects. Private operating agency is the local community initiative BASE (Bagrot Association for Social Enhancement). For very good students of government schools, it is common today to attend the private school, for girls this is a big exception, because there is a fee. The best graduates of the 4th and 5th grade of the girls' school receive the scholarships with the beginning of the new school year middle August.
The school fees per student per year are 40 €.
Milestones 1992 to 2007
Our private girls' school did not have an easy start. At first, many parents were hesitant about the idea of their daughters attending school. And the open-minded parents only accepted female teachers for the girls. They had to be recruited from neighboring regions. Due to the lack of girls' schools in the Bagrot valley, no native woman was adequately trained. Today, parents are primarily asking about the qualifications of teachers. Young men from Bagrot with good university education have been teaching the higher classes for several years and are highly regarded as teachers of the daughters. The school is part of everyday life today. Even the elderly agitate strongly for the modern cause. Several older students are already married and young mothers, and the grandparents guard the grandchildren during school lessons. The eager schoolgirls fulfill their manifold duties in the household and in the agriculture, and after completion of the training they engage themselves for the community. Some contribute significantly to the household income of the extended family with their gainful employment. For some years now, there are government elementary schools for girls in all villages. This gratifying development goes back to our project, which made the demand for girls' schools to local politicians louder and louder over the years. With the promise of the establishment of a school, some local elections have been won in recent years.
The School Festival
On the 17th of June we celebrated a big party for the 15th anniversary of the girls' school. Nearly 400 guests came from all the villages in the valley, including many mothers and grandmothers. The program with songs, speeches and own poems was co-designed by many courageous students with great commitment. Already with the day-long rehearsals they had a lot of fun. The highlight was a sketch about a “German Lady” who came to Bagrot in 1990 and constantly called on the elders for 2 years to send the daughters to school. The audience laughed itself to tears, and the amateur actors visibly enjoyed their big performance. With a surprise cake, I was finally reminded of my 50th birthday. For the students and the numerous female guests, the festival was a rare change in the busy everyday life.
The importance of schooling for girls and the unknown donors in Germany, without whose help the large school and the small college today would not exist, are the focus of many conversations between old and young in the Bagrot valley.
My thanks go to all friends inside and outside of Bagrot, who have supported the school with a high personal commitment and have facilitated it over the years.
The students, parents and teachers of the Monika Girls High School and the Girls College also asked me to thank all donors and the women of the Forum Children in Need e.V. for their many years of generous support. The donations are used one to one for the personnel costs of the 13 private teachers and urgently needed school materials.
Hearty Greetings from Hamburg
Donation Account:Kreissparkasse Tübingen
Informations about the school project and Bagrot Valley:
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