Pakistan is a country struggling to solve problems of inflation, terrorism, unemployment, and resources. How do the educational struggles of women and girls in rural areas affect Pakistan’s greater issues? What are the societal, cultural, and political barriers to educational opportunity? How do the efforts of Iqra fund to assist equal education opportunities in Pakistan compare to the efforts of other global organizations?
|Genevieve Walsh is the Founder and CEO for Iqra Fund, an organization that provides opportunities for women and children, especially girls, to improve their quality of life through education. Iqra Fund is a U.S. based international nongovernmental organization committed to serving girls and women in remote regions faced with economic, social, and political barriers to education. By developing a deep understanding of the unique challenges these communities face, and working with the communities’ strengths and local leadership, Iqra Fund provides women and children, especially girls, access to quality educational opportunities to improve their lives, their families and their communities.|
|In 2007, Genevieve made her first visit to Pakistan. It was during that trip that she met a young girl named Iqra who would change her life. Iqra was only 13 years old and had recently experienced the loss of many of her family and friends to a devastating earthquake. Iqra’s father told Genevieve that he named his daughter Iqra, (Iqra translates to “read” from Arabic), because he believed in her future as an educated woman.
The unwavering commitment to education by both Iqra and her father had a profound impact on Genevieve. It served as an inspiration to Genevieve to shift her entire doctoral research focus to study the barriers to girls’ education, and the impact that education can have on improving the quality of life for girls, women, and remote communities.
Genevieve’s doctoral research led her to spend the next four years building relationships with local community leaders, Pakistan-based development organizations, and women and children, setting the necessary foundation to launch Iqra Fund’s programs. Genevieve has worked with the Central Asia Institute in some of the most remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
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