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Ruppe Award to Friends of Pakistan USA

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This video is the Ruppe Award presentation to Friends of Pakistan USA on June 21, 2014 at the Peace Corps Connect Conference in Nashville, TN. Kate Schachter presented the Loret Ruppe award on behalf of the NPCC to Carol Cespedes former President of FOPUSA. Carol does a wonderful job of accepting the award for FOPUSA.

 

Millard MottRuppe Award to Friends of Pakistan USA
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Kashmiri Times Reports FOPUSA Scholarships

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KASHMIR TIMES newspaper shows the photos of Vice Chancellor, Women University of Azad Jammu &Kashmir and 6 students during the presentation of FOP-USA scholarships.

The article  mentions that from 2013 FOP-USA has provided scholarships to 6 students on merit and need base. This year FOP-USA decided that Vice Chancellor of first ever Women University in Azad Jammu & Kashmir should be asked to present the scholarships and introduce the 6 students from Rerrah to the University. They will get information about University and they will think about and decide on University education in the future (2015).

At the end; it is also mentioned that President of FOP-USA Mr. Millard Mott thanked the Vice Chancellor (through email) for his time, cooperation and best wishes were communicated for the future.

Azad Jammu and Kashmir (Urdu: آزاد جموں و کشمیر‎ Azad Jammu o Kashmir) abbreviated as AJK or Azad Kashmir (literally Free UnknownKashmir), is a self-governing autonomous state in Pakistan which lies west of Indian controlled Jammu and Kashmir. It was part of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, which ceased to exist as a result of the first Kashmir war in 1947, fought between India and Pakistan.

 

Millard MottKashmiri Times Reports FOPUSA Scholarships
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Good News for Education in Pakistan

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In Pakistan, education could help change the fortunes of impoverished families, but corruption and pressure by the Taliban prevent many children from enrolling. An alternative school system is making efforts to expand access and change attitudes towards education for impoverished boys and girls. PBS reports.

Millard MottGood News for Education in Pakistan
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Congratulations! First Group of Scholarship Students Complete Year

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A special congratulations to Ismat, Safia, Benish, Sajida, Nazima and Sidra. The six students at Girls Government Intercollege in Rerra, Kashmir have been recipients of scholarships from Friends of Pakistan USA. Yesterday all Rerra students along with Ex-Principal Ms Jannat were requested to come to the Women University to get their Scholarships from the hands of the Vice Chancellor of Women University, Dr. Mohammad Haleem Khan.

This is the first evDSCF6277er Women University in the State of Azad Jammu & Kashmir. Women University was established in June 2012, but it will start its first BS-4 year Program in September 2014, and M.Science, M.Philosophy in February 2015 for at least 50 thousand Women in the Pakistani administrated Kashmir.

DSCF6290The students have now completed the 11th grade. Friends of Pakistan USA will provide them with scholarships next year for the 12th grade to prepare them for the University.

Millard MottCongratulations! First Group of Scholarship Students Complete Year
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Friends of Pakistan Supports Girls’ Education

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This article was published in the National Peace Corps, Global Education Newsletter by Barbara Janes and Leslie Noyes Mass.

An Inspiration

In her remarks to the audience assembled at the United Nations on her 16th birthday, Malala Youfaszai, the Pakistani teenager shot by the Taliban for attending school said, “We call upon the developed nations to support the expansion of educational opportunities for girls in the developing world.”

Malala Youfaszai is a strong and resourceful voice for girl’s education in Pakistan. But she is in good company. Although Peace Corps has not had a physical presence in Pakistan since the 1965 (with the exception of a short period in 1990), Peace Corps Volunteers have been advocating and working for female education in Pakistan since the early 1960s.

Aid to Pakistan

In 2005, after a devastating earth- quake in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, a small group of Returned PCVs to Pakistan connected by the internet and organized to send aid to the people of that region. From this connection, Ben Cespedes (Pak I, 1961-63) and his wife, Carol, formed the group into a 501c3 organization named Friends of Pakistan USA (FOPUSA). The members pledged to continue to assist the people in Pakistan with monetary and/or professional expertise.

From their own experiences in Pakistan, the members of FOPUSA were convinced that,
in spite of the restrictions on educating girls in a Muslim country, educating girls makes
good sense: educated girls marry later, earn more money, insist that their children learn to read and write, have healthier families, and make their communities healthier and cleaner. Supporting women and girls’ education in Pakistan became a primary focus of FOPUSA.

Funds for Scholarships

In 2007, following a trip to Pakistan to train teachers for a Pakistani NGO known as The Citizens Foundation, Barbara Janes (Pak I 1961-63), guided FOPUSA to support girls education in Pakistan by raising $2000 per year for scholar-ships for ten girls to attend a Citizens Foundation Secondary school. Over the next five years, FOPUSA raised $10,000 to support fifty girls at the TCF Phengali Girls Secondary school outside of Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan.

Two Additional Projects Begin

In 2011, to recognize the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps, the members of FOPUSA pledged to raise another $10,000 for two additional education projects in Pakistan.

The first project, also with The Citizens Foundation, supported mothers of TCF children, who, though illiterate themselves, wanted to learn to read, write and do basic math to help their children with their school work. Known as the Aagahi project, FOPUSA raised $5000 to provide special literacy classes for the 22,000 mothers and older sisters of TCF students in forty cities across Pakistan.

The second FOPUSA 50th anniversary project was with Design for Change, Pakistan, a Pakistani organization to show school children how to make a difference in their communities. FOPUSA raised $5000 to support teams of DFC staff to work with children in primary and middle schools across Pakistan, showing the children how to identify problems in their community, brainstorm ideas for solutions, implement their solutions and report the results. Through this process, the children discovered that they have the power to change their communities and become more active members of their society. http://www.dfcworld.com/dfc/PAKI- STAN/.

Two More Projects

In 2013 FOPUSA voted to support two more projects at girls’ schools in the mountains of Pakistan: Rerra government Girls High School in Azad Kashmir, and three village schools in Manshera District, Khyber Puktunkhwa Province.

The first of these projects, Rerra, began with a friendship between one of FOPUSA’s Board members, Ken Chouquette, and a USAID contractor from the 2005 earthquake area of Azad Kashmir. In 2012, the FOPUSA board raised funds to supply the Rerra Girls Government High School with books for their library. In 2013 FOPUSA added an additional donation to the Rerra project and provided scholarships for six girls to complete their intermediate high school education, making it pos- sible for these girls to go on to higher education and/or entry into professional training programs.

The second FOPUSA 2013 project, Manshera Project in Khyber Puktunkhwa Provice, supports the salaries of three teachers for girls’ higher secondary classes in three villages. Under the auspices of the Hoshyar Foundation, the girls attending these higher secondary classes in the three schools will be eligible to continue on to university or midwife programs after which they will return to their villages to serve their communities. FOPUSA is near its goal of raising $10,000 to complete this project and will continue to accept donations until they reach their goal.

The members of FOPUSA firmly believe that their contributions to the above programs will make a significant impact on the lives of girls attending them. In turn, these educated girls will continue to live in their communities and will improve their lives and the lives of their families for generations to come.

In the words of Malala again, “So let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism and let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education First.”

If you would like to learn more about work of FOPUSA and help us continue and expand, please visit our website: http://friendsofpakistanusa.org

Barbara Janes (Pak I) and Leslie Noyes Mass (Pak II) contributed to this article.

Millard MottFriends of Pakistan Supports Girls’ Education
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Pakistani Journalists in Washington, D.C.

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Ann Hartman, FOPUSA Board Member and staff at the East-West Center of the University of Hawaii is leading a group of journalists for a three-week period to several cities in the US – Honolulu, Washington, DC, New York City and Columbus, Missouri. The Pakistanis are part of an exchange program with journalists from the US visiting Pakistan.IMG_1467

Barbara Janes, Sandra Houts and Millard Mott from the FOPUSA Board met with the journalists in DC for a long lunch at the Capitol Hill Tandori and Grill Restaurant.

The lunch with the 12 Pakistani journalists was wonderfully lively and open and instructive. They were energetic and diverse in their opinions. Three of the journalists were women.

The women’s experiences were very different in all respects—family support, manner of dress, and choices in their beats. On the other hand, they experience good relationships with their male peers—and, the males around us agreed that the female journalists also treat them well! The field of journalism has welcomed women only in the last decade or so—but, it’s happened.

IMG_1473There were comments from the journalists that were both sad and inspiring:

“I had to go on a hunger strike to get my father’s support to become a journalist.” – from one of the women.

 “There isn’t a neighborhood in Peshawar that hasn’t been bombed. But people carry on with their lives.”

“I’ve been surprised by the government structure in the U.S. The States have a lot of independence from the Federal Government.”

“I’ve learned how important a civil society is to support a democratic government.”

“There has been some progress in Pakistan. The Supreme Court is now truly independent.”

The journalists were from several parts of Pakistan – Lahore, Quetta, Waziristan, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Karachi. There were five from Peshawar. They were in good humor, teased each other, – just generally fun conversations while learning about the contemporary Pakistan. We talked about safety in all the cities; the consensus apparently is that no one is safe, though some places are less so.IMG_1477

Most of the journalists thought there would be no problems going anyplace in Pakistan except Azad Kashmir and Peshawar; even Quetta was thought to be open to tourists but not journalists.

The Pakistani meal we shared with them was tasty and reminiscent of our earlier days in Pakistan and appreciated by the journalists. They were impressed and a little surprised to meet a group of folks who had experienced Pakistan the way we had.

 

Millard MottPakistani Journalists in Washington, D.C.
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Turning Empty Buildings into Schools

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pakistan-schoolhouse
Friends of Pakistan USA is partnering with Hoshyar Foundation to extend girls’ education by funding three teacher’s salaries. This allows girls to attend school tuition free.

Hoshyar reports in their recent newsletter, “Our non-profit partners in Pakistan continue to develop productive relationships with each community and with the government. Hoshyar, together with Friends’ Welfare Association, expanded two abandoned girls’ middle schools into high schools and returned them to government support this year. We also converted a beautiful primary school in Bararkot village into a full-scale high school where classes are held in two shifts.

Probably the most exciting development in 2013 was that Hoshyar inaugurated higher secondary courses in four of our six schools. Twenty-four high school graduates in KPK are taking college prep classes in the humanities and sciences, and three new teachers have been hired. Scholarships for these courses are made possible by a donation from the Friends of Pakistan USA.
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Millard MottTurning Empty Buildings into Schools
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Don Goldstone Education Fund

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Dear Pakistan Peace Corps Volunteers and Friends,

Recently we heard the sad news that Don Goldstone has died.

Don was the Peace Corps doctor in Lahore from 1962 – 64. While serving in this capacity he met his future wife, Marti Walsh Goldstone.

We would like to honor Don’s life and Peace Corps service with donations to FOPUSA’s girls’ Education Fund.

If you choose, you can select one of the three projects FOPUSA supports: The Citizens Foundation (Marti had raised funds for TCF while we were providing scholarships for ten girls for five years.) Rerra, Kashmir where we are currently providing scholarships for six girls to attend higher secondary school, and Hoshyar Foundation for which we are providing teachers’ salaries for three schools in Khyber Puktunkhwa. Or you can simply make a donation to our Education Fund which is dedicated to girls’ scholarships in Pakistan. We will let Marti know of your donation.

See our website for details about our projects and to make a donation via paypal: http://friendsofpakistanusa.org/. If you prefer, you can send a check made out to FOPUSA. Our address: Friends of Pakistan USA, 1305 Abbey Circle, Asheville, NC 28805

This letter is being sent to the FOPUSA Membership. Please consider forwarding it to other Returned Volunteers who may have known Don and Marti.

Thank you.

The Board of Friends of Pakistan USA

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Copyright © 2014 Friends of Pakistan USA, All rights reserved.

 

Millard MottDon Goldstone Education Fund
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FOPUSA Board Special Election and Updates

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We want to keep you informed about Friends of Pakistan USA happenings and to get your ideas to improve what we do.

Updates: We have a FOPUSA Board Special Election coming up for VP of Membership. We’ve just updated our website. Please take a look and give us feedback. Ann Hartman, one of our Board members, is leading a group of journalists from Pakistan who are visiting the US in April. Here’s another powerful video on the importance of girl’s education.

FOPUSA Board Special Election

We’ll be holding a Special Election in the next couple of months for VP of Membership. Patti Kratky had to resign from the FOPUSA Board for personal reasons. We’re sorry to lose her contributions on the Board but she will remain a member. If you would like to be considered as a candidate for the Board or want to recommend someone, please contact Ken Choquette our Nominating Committee Chair: kenc265@aol.com

Check Out New Website

We’ve updated the website for Friends of Pakistan USA. The new site is cleaner looking, easier to navigate and better for getting the word out to a larger audience. We want to use social media to reach as broad a community of enthusiastic folks committed to girls’ education in Pakistan. Click here (http://friendsofpakistanusa.org) .

 Meeting With Pakistani Journalists

FOPUSA Board members will be meeting with 16 journalists from Pakistan in April. We will be in Washington, DC for two days to discuss ways to strengthen girls education in Pakistan. Ann Hartman, one of our Board members, has organized the program for the East West Center at the University of Hawaii.

Fundraising Goal Exceeded

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!! We exceeded our fundraising goal of $10,000 for our Education Fund. Special thanks to Benny Cespedes for matching funds that pushed us to $10,400. This allows us to continue strong support for girls’ education in Pakistan.

New Global Power: Girls with Books

There are some very provocative films being published about the importance of women and their education. This is one of them. Click here (http://youtu.be/qa6BC2P2KHQ) to view this powerful film on girls’ education.

We believe that education is the best way to give Pakistani children hope and an alternative to extremism.

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Copyright © 2014 Friends of Pakistan USA, All rights reserved.

Millard MottFOPUSA Board Special Election and Updates
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Newsletter, May 2013

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OPENING THE GATES FOR YOUNG WOMEN IN PAKISTAN

Why are civilized, knowledge-loving women the target of the Taliban?
Why are they not our pride, our strength, our might?

Seen on the back of a Lahore auto rickshaw
Photo and translation by Carla Petievich
courtesy of the Hoshyar Foundation

Of all the news of violence out of Pakistan, nothing shocked the world more than last year’s shooting of Malala Yousafzai, a teenage schoolgirl who was targeted by militants for the sin of wanting to learn.

In spite of efforts to terrorize them into silence, brave Pakistanis have continued to support their daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers in their struggle for the education that promises knowledge,
career opportunity, and a better life for their families and communities.

Friends of Pakistan USA has made the education of girls part of our basic mission. This year we take one more step by focusing on scholarships for young women aiming to complete the two years of intercollege required for entry into university or vocational training programs.

FORGING NEW PARTNERSHIPS:

Most of us have seen the dismal statistics—40% of Pakistani women over the age of 15 are illiterate, giving that country the lowest female literacy rate in Asia. We are glad to see the picture improving as more girls attend primary and middle school, but another barrier remains.

Secondary education traditionally ends at grade 10 and leaves the question of what girls will do with their schooling. Both universites and vocational training schools require two more years of higher secondary school or intercollege just to apply. At this point the doors begin to close for this is the time when girls under pressure to marry. Intercolleges for girls are few outside of the cities. Education for girls in rural areas usually stops at age 15, meaning a great waste of talent as young women who might have served their communities as teachers, social workers, nurses, and midwives fail to make minimum qualifications for entry into either college or vocational programs.

With this in mind, Friends of Pakistan USA has this year decided to offer scholarships to young women from rural areas who would otherwise be unable to complete the 11th and 12th grades.

Plaque in the library at GGIC
Rerra, Azad Kashmir

Government Girls Inter College, Rerra, Azad Kashmir, The first of our partners in the scholarship program is the same school that received a set of books from FOPUSA to outfit its new library in the Library Challenge Project of 2010-2011. We were impressed then with the outpouring of enthusiasm from this school that had been completely destroyed in the 2005 earthquake, and we were encouraged by a letter of thanks from the principal. It was a relationship that we wanted to continue.

Liaison work by Jane Murphy Thomas, who developed the Library Challenge Project and the presence of a trusted contact in the community gave us confidence to work directly with the the School Management Committee. We propose to award six scholarships based on need, ability, and motivation to complete the two years of intercollege. At a maximum annual cost of only $133 per girl this would allow us to develop a project model, one that could be implemented at other schools, private or public, that meet our basic criteria for community support, accountability, and promoting friendship between the peoples of Pakistan and the U.S.A. Through a donation earmarked for scholarships we are ready to launch this project on its first year.

Hoshyar Foundation, Mansehra, Khyber Paktunkwa
This year we begin a partnership with Hoshyar Foundation, a nonprofit based in Austin, Texas, focusing on empowerment of Pakistani women through education. Hoshyar was founded by Dr. Carla Petievich, an American academic who is also an Urdu scholar with years of experience in Pakistan and India. Hoshyar Foundation has for several years. worked with local people to build and operate a school on the outskirts of Lahore and to sponsor several middle and high schools in the mountainous Mansehra District north of Islamabad, where they work with a grassroots NGO based in the area.

Studying together at girls high school in Mansehra

On her annual trips to the region, Dr. Petievich has asked what is happening to girls who finish the high school program. What is their life like? Are their families and communities benefitting as they should?

Unfortunately the picture is not always bright. Whether girls return to the village or move (usually through marriage) to urban areas, their lives will be blighted by a near absence of women’s healthcare. Pakistan has a desperate need for nurses and midwives, but even girls finishing high school with an interest in training in medical careers are unable to qualify for vocational programs unless they complete those two additional years of intercollege (11th and 12th grades).

With this in mind, Hoshyar Foundation has asked us to help them and their FWA partners operate a pilot intercollege program combining two villages. This is seen as a necessary preliminary to training girls as nurses and midwives—the next step in meeting the most critical needs of women and their families.

The estimated cost per student is nearly the same as in Rerra, Kashmir—only $15 to $20 per month—a small investment with a very big return.

Message from the President:
MAKING A DIFFERENCE AGAIN

Reading today that relations between the United States and Pakistan are at their lowest ebb—the point where Pakistan has the lowest possible opinion of the U.S. and Americans have the lowest possible opinion of Pakistan— I am struck that need for outreach to the people of Pakistan is more urgent than ever. Friends of Pakistan USA needs to make the biggest difference possible in the perception the American and Pakistani people have of each other.

Our board member Ann Hartman of the East West Center in Hawaii is engaged in one of the most high-impact areas—changing the perspective of the people who report the news through a journalist exchange project. Ann is currently in Islamabad and Lahore, introducing a group of American journalists to Pakistan. A group of Pakistani journalists are simultaneously traveling in the U.S. having real life experiences of the American people.

Friends of Pakistan USA is actively looking for ways that we as individuals and as an organization can encourage direct communication between Pakistanis and Americans. That is one of the thoughts behind our scholarship program with the Government Girls Intercollege in Rerra where our six young women scholars will know their grant comes from Americans and actually send a report to us at the end of the school year.

Another FOPUSA board member, Millard Mott, has proposed a sister school project that would put American and Pakistani classrooms into direct contact through the Internet. Here a major challenge is posed by lack of Internet access and rolling blackouts in Pakistan, but we are looking for “out of the box” solutions. We are even exploring text messaging as an easier means of contact. Anyone out there with an interest in working through these technical problems with us? It’s a brave new world out there.

50TH ANNIVERSARY PROJECT REPORT
—By Barbara Janes, Past President

FOPUSA is proud to announce that the completion of our commitment to raise $10,000 in recognition of the Peace Corps’ 50th anniversary contributed to the programs of two wonderful nonprofit organizations in Pakistan. The two organizations, involving three different projects, are Design for Change and The Citizens Foundation.

DFC Students in Karachi demonstrating ways to
sort trash to help the environment

Design for Change is part of a global initiative that encourages school children to identify and find solutions to world’s greatest challenges. The purpose of this contest is to enhance creativity among children and teach them to take charge of problems around them. To support DFC in its mission by hiring two part time support personnel, FOPUSA donated $5000 to this important cause.

$5000 each was also donated to The Citizens Foundation for two important projects the Aagahi Literacy project and stocking a high school library. The Aagahi literacy project has provided basic literacy to thousands of TCF mothers and school ayahs who had not had an opportunity to go to school.

PHENGALI SCHOOL PROJECT IN FIFTH YEAR
At our first membership meeting in Ft. Collins, Colorado, in 2008, Friends of Pakistan USA voted to raise $2000 a year for five years to fund the secondary education of ten girls through The Citizens Foundation at the Phengali secondary school near Lahore.

BUT…. we still have $1107 left to raise by June 1. We know we will succeed and go on to enable other girls to fulfill their dreams of higher education and a better life, but the time to fulfill our pledge is NOW.

OUR MISSION: AN ENDURING FRIENDSHIP

On October 8, 2005, the mountains of northern Pakistan (Azad Kashmir) were rocked by a 7.6 magnitude earthquake triggering the greatest catastrophe in the recorded history of that region. Understanding that three million people were left without shelter with winter fast closing in, a few returned Peace Corps Volunteers and their friends sprang into action to send aid to our friends in Pakistan.

That was how Friends of Pakistan USA was born, and we have continued our commitment, raising funds for girls education, flood relief, and refugee work. Our unique mission remains the promotion of friendly relations and understanding between the people of Pakistan and the people of United States of America.

We believe the mission of friendship is as urgent today as relief to earthquake victims was in 2005. Our membership is not limited to returned Peace Corps Volunteers. We need the support of all Americans who care about Pakistan and believe that peace and friendship between our countries is essential to both nations and to the world.

Please consider joining our efforts in 2013. Our dues of only $15 can be paid by check in the name of FOPUSA and sent to our treasurer:

Sandra Houts
1305 Abbey Circle
Asheville, NC 28805

Friends of Pakistan USA is a 501c3 nonprofit organization. Your dues and donations are tax deductible. Email us if you are ready to help make a difference or check our website at peacecorpsfriendsofpakistanusa.blogspot.com.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. —Margaret Mead

gabemottNewsletter, May 2013
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