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Bagrot Basics

German Version

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Projectvisit in Bagrot

During our two-week visit to the Bagrot Valley in May 2009, we held numerous discussions with students from various schools and parents. We were regular guests at Monika Girls High School. Life in the agricultural valley goes its usual course. The region is located away from the current crisis areas of Pakistan.

Monika Girls High School

The school classes and the college classes run like &ldquo:lubricated”, carried by a high acceptance in the population. The girls' school now has 302 students and the three college classes 42 students. The students are taught by 21 teachers. Twelve teachers are funded by donations, nine by the school board.

A new building with three other classrooms on the spacious school grounds is waiting for acceptance by the regional school board, which is developer. The contractor still has to realize repairs. Hopefully the two smaller rooms will be available in the coming months.

Since years the lessons take place in two shifts. The morning is reserved for the seven pre and primary classes, the afternoon for the higher classes and the lessons for the students.

The ninth grade had as many as 86 students at the beginning of the new school year in April and had to be divided into two classes. This is a great success and speaks for the quality and high reputation of the school. This is particularly due to the two local coordinators Ahmad Ali and Muhammad Sharif. Over the course of the year, they take care of the many small and large questions of students, parents and teachers and manage the interests and interests of the school with great diplomatic skill.

NewTraining Offer

Due to the demand of some young women, remedial teaching has been offered since March 2009 for another branch of education: an additional teacher prepares school and college graduates for the ‘Certificate Teaching’. The proof of these examinations is required in addition to school and college graduation for an application in the school service. And some of the young women are very interested in that.
The additional teacher currently costs € 1.000 per year.

In view of our modest means, there was nothing left for extraordinary measures such as the acquisition of teaching materials or a reading contest. It meant setting priorities and supporting the professional interests of young women. In addition, the salaries of all ‘old’ teachers had to be adjusted retroactively from January this year on because of the significant price increases for everyday goods such as wheat, flour, oil, sugar, rice, firewood, gas, etc. Prices have risen by 50-100% over the past 12 months.

Well-designed donations

The total staff costs for all teachers this year are € 10,000. An amount that is very well spent. Thankfully, many private friends and the forum Children in Need e.V. have again made this promotion possible with their activities and generous donations.

Sponsorship for the Gifted

The awarding of four scholarships to visit the BASE Public School in Bagrot went into the third year. A test in Math, Urdu and English for 3rd and 4th grade graduates of all elementary schools in the valley should help to find the next candidates. The interest was huge and for us completely surprising: 117 students came to the test! In each of the past two years, there were 30-40 girls involved. Currently, a scholarship, i.e. the school fees for attending the private school totals to monthly 3 € for a student. Now there are already 12 girls from different villages who can visit the BASE Public School in this way. I have undertaken to pay the scholarship fees for the scholarship holders until the end of the 8th grade, which is the provisional final grade of the BASE Public School. This is in the hope that their parents will until then be able and willing to bear the attendance of a secondary school outside the valley out of their own resources.

Economic Factor School

The Monika Girls High School is the third largest employer in the Bagrot Valley after public service (schools, road and bridge maintenance) and the BASE Public School, operated by the local self-help organization BASE. By offering continuing formal education, she has led some young women into employment in government primary schools and in public health care. The women working in the valley are almost all graduates of our girls' school. Even the small local shops benefit from the large school, because even students need regular school supplies and school clothes and so on.

Everyday life of the Students

Most girls go to school eagerly and perform very well - on average better than the boys. They are really unhappy when they do not have time to do their homework or stay away from lessons due to the many domestic and agricultural duties. Homework is often done in the summer months after 11pm so the girls fall asleep at some point.

In summer the days are very long. In the morning, breakfast is served between 6 and 7 o'clock. That means cooking tea and baking bread at 5:30. Lunch is between 2 and 3 o'clock pm. This is usually done by the housewife. The dinner is often taken only around 10 o'clock pm. Responsible for the preparation are usually the older daughters or even the smaller ones, if no big ones are in the house. In our country, we can hardly imagine today what cooking and housework means without electrical appliances, running hot water and frozen or junk food. All chores are done by hand and on foot. Vegetables for meals are harvested from the fields and always freshly prepared, and a mountain of flatbread for the extended family is baked with every meal. More and more often, in some households instead of bread large pots of rice are cooked because it is faster and wheat has become scarce and therefore expensive.

In some homes today, cooking and baking is done on a single or double-flame gas cooker, in most households wood is still used on a fire pit, where everything is cooked one after another. The younger women and girls go to great lengths to prepare their meals and are always happy to try new dishes.

Small Liberties

With the girls and young women from the neighborhood, we did some trips inside the valley and to the nearby town of Gilgit. On a Sunday we hiked to the higher parts of the summer valley of Bagrot with 24 people, including only 5 male beings. Our group was a colorful procession. The girls were all dressed up tremendously fancy, as is the case in Bagrot during visits and excursions. We were at least able to affect some influence concerning the question of footwear with some of them. Fashionable slippers or heels seemed rather inappropriate for a hiking tour, even though the local women are accustomed to walking on bumpy roads and cross county.

The long hike was quite exhausting for young and old. And of course we had to lug our day's provisions. Tearooms, restaurants or the like were missing. In the last village of the summer valley just below 3000 meters, the girls played football on a flat green meadow during lunch break, much to my surprise. First together with the accompanying brothers and cousins, but they were relegated relatively soon to goalkeeping and finally pushed to the brink of the action - this without grumbling. The girls obviously had a lot of fun playing sports outside of the narrow village community and everyday life.

Kind Regards from Hamburg
Monika Schneid
September 2009

Donation Account: Kreissparkasse Tübingen, IBAN: DE31641500200002753609, BIC: SOLADES1TUB, Forum Kinder in Not e.V.
For earmarked donations please quote the keyword “Pakistan”. If the full address is indicated on the remittance slip, a donation receipt will be sent.

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