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Thursday, April 17, 2014
- Balancing her school bag on one shoulder and holding her three-year-old son by the hand, Farida Haque (19) ignores her in-laws’ complaints and her husband’s frown as she heads each morning for the tiny school in her remote village of Allah Bachayo, located in the Thatta district of Pakistan’s Sindh Province.
She is determined to complete her education but, like most other girls in rural Pakistan, she faces a long struggle.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), one in every 12 of the world’s ‘out of school’ children are Pakistani, mostly young girls. Nearly half of the women living in rural areas in Pakistan have never been to school.
The international community has almost universally acknowledged that educating young girls will transform society, end child marriages, improve women’s health and stem violence and militancy.
In a bid to assist the Pakistan government achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of ensuring universal access to education by 2015, the European Union committed 30 million euros to the Sindh Education Sector Support Programme earlier this year, which is particularly focused on improving girls’ access to education.