Nov 252012

Assalam o alaikum respected people of Little World Community Organization.

My name is Zainab, and I live in a small village in Northern Pakistan with my eight family members.  We are my grandmother, my mother, my father, my two brothers, and we three sisters.

My grandmother always said the boys are important in a family because they carry on the name of the forefathers.  She said my brothers must go to school and get a good education so they can support our parents and their families.  She told my parents to keep me and my sisters at home because it was a waste to send a girl to school.  Because my grandmother was the oldest person in the house, we had to obey her and respect her decision.  I prayed to God and asked for help.

One day the teacher from the LWCO school came to my house and talked to my mother and my grandmother.  The teacher said it is important for girls to get an education so they can be better mothers and help their family.  My grandmother could not accept this, but the teacher continued visiting our house.  She was so humble and kind that my grandmother started enjoying her visits.  One day my sisters and I came home from washing clothes at the river, and my grandmother was gone.  My mother said my grandmother was visiting the LWCO school with the teacher. When my grandmother came back home, she was a different woman.  She said this was a good school, and she told my father to send me and my sisters there.

Every day when I return home from school, my grandmother is waiting for me.  She wants me to tell her everything I did that day.  I am able to measure with tape and make patterns for clothes.  I make clothes for my family and clothes to sell.  I am very proud that I can share the burden of caring for my family financially.  I know my grandmother is proud of me, too.

Translated by Shumila – LWCO Volunteer

I am making a pattern for clothing

Nov 212012

Salaam to all people.

I am teaching the young girls. (light pink shawl)

I start my letter by thanking all the people who make it possible that I have school today.  I thank you everyone for completing this school for me and my friends.

My name is Falak Bibi, and I have children and a husband.  My husband repairs punctured bicycle tires in our village.  Many days we are lucky if he brings home 100 rupees ($1.04). For this, I worry all the time for food, and I think of nothing else.

My husband worry about me.  He say to me that I will go to the hospital if I don’t change.  He tell the teacher to come to my home and talk to me.  The teacher say to me to come to the school, but I don’t want to go.  What is the point when I need food to go to school?

My husband say to me to go to the school.  He say maybe I can clean the school or care for the little children of the mothers for some rupees.  He say I can help our family if I go to the school.  I am afraid to go, but what can I say when my husband is like this?

I go to the school, and it is very strange.  I see everyone talking to each other.  The teacher is sitting on the floor with the students, and they all talk in groups and have discussions.  I think what kind of school is this?  Everyone looks at me and stands for me like I am special.  They greet me and welcome me to their group.  I sit with them and listen to the discussions and what the teacher is showing.  I think I am in a dream.  This day is 12 May, 2009.  I do not forget this day because it is the turning point of my life.

My husband come home that night and he is discouraged because business is bad that day.  I tell him what I learn in school: “Never give up.  If things are difficult, try new ideas.”  He look at me with eyes of surprise, and then we both laugh and laugh.  It is many years we don’t laugh together, and that evening we feel like young people in our new marriage again.

Now it is three years I am in this Little World Community Organization school.  I can read and write.  I learn to sew and now make money to help support my family.  I take my daughters to the school.  My children are older now, so I spend most of my day at the school.  I encourage girls and women to come who have problems.  Together we are stronger every day and we support each other through everything.  Thank you again all good people for this school.

Translated from Urdu by Naveed, LWCO volunteer

Feb 022011

Nathia Gli is a small village in Pakistan in the mountains outside of Abbotobad, an hours walk from the road. Winters are very harsh there. Last year and the year before when Aneel, the director of LWCO, went there disease was so rampant he became sick his life was in danger and he had to be hospitalized. Volunteer teachers still would hike in through deep snow and hot summers. Money couldn’t’t pay enough to do this type of work but they do it with joy and the determination to make a better life for others. Schools became established and women students learned how to not only read and write but to work together as a community and build prosperity together and to be teachers like those who came to help them. Water supplies were cleaned up. Smiles became more common and trust began to build.

I just received this letter below, written by committee, from the students. The point in sharing it is to show how powerful friendship can be to bring change. This isn’t possible by sending money to hire someone who works for the money to help others. It requires hands-on involvement.

I edited out the effusive salutation.

…… and thank you Sir for all you did and make us able to be proud of what we are.
Every time the winters come, We had nothing to do, We were idle and were doing nothing. These winters were exceptional. We make patches, cards we sew cloths for old and needy people around us and gave them to save themselves from the intensity of weather.
Everyone in village was so happy. We arranged meetings in our homes of LWCO students and families. We discuss for the betterment of village and schools.
We learn to be clean and neat and keep our homes neat.
And because of being neat and clean no one was sick and in pain. Only few people had some fever but they were recovered soon. We received gift books and read them with families that brings a big smiles for them.
We will say thank you for helping us change our lives.
We love you and Mam Laurie.

Smiles and prayers for our best Friend.

LWCO students
Nathia Gli village

by Greg Zaller