Barakat Inc. Programs
- Provide merit-based scholarships for higher education for school and university education
- Open school libraries and computer labs
- Two parent-teacher meetings during the year, one for women and one for men
- Expand school campus and increase infrastructure
- Provide regular teacher training and refresher courses, with an emphasis on creative and interactive teaching techniques
- Add one grade level each year until schools reach their capacity
- Increase student enrollment and hire new teachers accordingly
- Increase female enrollment by creating an all-girls section in each grade or operating two shifts during the school day
- Increasing subjects offered in each grade until capacity
- Providing classes after school and during the summer to students who need extra help with schoolwork
While Barakat has established many programs or services to address our mission, the following examples ( Human Rights Teacher Training in Afghanistan, Literacy Programs in Afghanistan and Schools in Pakistan) exemplify our wish to strengthen the fundamental human rights to education in South and Central Asia.
Human Rights Teacher Training: In 2008, Barakat launched a teacher training program in human rights in Afghanistan. Working with the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Barakat has reached out to more than 400 participants through workshops in three provinces of northwestern Afghanistan. This initiative arose from the understanding that teachers are a powerful medium of raising awareness of human rights and spurring action through students, and we continue to educate both Barakat teachers and other teachers with this training today.
Literacy Program in Afghanistan: Our women's literacy programs provide education for women and girls who are not able to attend a formal school for cultural and religious reasons. Instead, these women are taught in the homes of local families. This is a valuable incentive for parents who may be reluctant to send their daughters to a public school. Our students range in age from seven to 55—children, teenage girls, married women, and widows.
Lower level courses, or Sowat Amausi, cover the school syllabus from 1st to 3rd grade in Dari and mathematics. Sowat Amausi literally means 'to teach one to become literate.'
Higher level courses, or Sowat Hayati, cover the school syllabus from 4th to 9th grade. Sowat Hayati means 'literate for life'. From 4th to 6th grade, the courses studied may include Dari, Pashto, English, mathematics, science, Islamiyat (the study of Islam), drawing, writing, sports, history and geography and social life (education in social mores and traditions). From 7th to 9th grade, these courses will continue, with more advanced studies in verbal and written language, mathematics and the sciences, such as physics and chemistry. The Afghan Ministry of Education has created the syllabus for these literacy courses to correspond with the formal school system in Afghanistan.
Schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan: Barakat works in the Attock, Punjab, Pakistan, through its local subsidiary, Barakat Pakistan, and in Jowzjan and Faryab Provinces of Afghanistan. Nearly all students at Barakat's schools in Pakistan are refugees of Turkmen, Hazara, Uzbek and Tajik descent, and roughly 40% of the students in Barkat Afghanistan's schools are returned refugees. Students are taught English, Urdu, Persian, Pashto, mathematics, computers, geography, science and Islamic studies. Teachers at the schools must receive mandatory professional training, in addition to their academic credentials, from either the University of Punjab or Allama Iqbal Open University. Barakat currently runs three schools in Pakistan, with Evening School for Girls, as well as two co-educational schools in Afghanistan.
Recent Successes and Current Challenges
In 1994 Barakat enrolled 22 young students into our first class in Pakistan; last year, we educated more than 3,000 students, 50% of whom were girls.
As demand for free, quality education in the region increases, we are working to ensure that access to such education is available to the communities we serve. In the next five years, Barakat aims to:
- Increase the female enrollment rate from 38% to 50% in Barakat schools;
- Double the number of female literacy courses run annually (currently 30);
- Increase gender awareness in the curriculum;
- Improve Barakat Pakistan's schools by creating libraries and computer labs;
- Strengthen program monitoring and evaluation;
- Provide annual training for all of Barakat's teachers;
- Have 100% of graduating girls continue their education after completing 8th grade.