CHARITY: Developments in Literacy

Shazia Farzana

Dhani Bux and Gul Muhammed admit to having tried everything to close the new school for girls operated by Developments in Literacy (DIL) in the rural community of Jaanvery Got in Pakistan. A year later, these two village heads sit on the education committee and encourage other parents to send their daughters to school. “We were nervous, we felt tradition would be broken,” they said at the time. “We have never educated our girls, why start now?”

They demanded that DIL head teacher Farazana Sial shut the school and leave. Although she had been humiliated and threatened for trying to explain the benefits of education to the community, Farazana Sial persevered and eventually won over the two men. 

“We saw the way the girls who were getting educated conducted themselves with dignity, they could read and write and help their farmer fathers calculate earnings,” Dhani Bux said. “We had been caught in an age of ignorance,” he admitted.

DIL’s success in Jaanvery Got is just one example of how the charity supported by The British Asian Trust is winning over rural communities in its campaign to provide education for girls. Over 15,000 students, primarily girls, are enrolled in 149 Development in Literacy supported primary and secondary schools in rural areas across Pakistan.

Story and photo by Fatima Najm of Creatives Against Poverty