Sakina of Project Hunza & Gilgit Baltistan Secondary Scholarship

Sakina Batool grew up in Basha valley, in the Baltistan region of Northern Pakistan. Living in a household with nine other family members, her father struggled to make ends meet as a farmer.

Sakina was always interested in studying. She attended primary school at the Iqra Fund supported community school in Basha, where she received a number of academic awards over the years. However, when she finished middle school and there was no high school in her village, she was confronted with the possibility of not being able to continue her education. However, Sakina was able to convince her father to send her to a high school in Skardu, the nearest city, even though he could not afford to pay for her school and accommodation expenses.

Determined, Sakina went to Skardu anyway and applied for financial aid at the girl’s hostel where she was living. When her application was not accepted, she had no choice but to take on work cleaning and washing dishes in the hostel in order to earn a living, which caused her studies to suffer. The stress and the additional burden of work started to affect her health as well, and she was on the brink of giving up and going home to her village when she heard about WEF-Iqra Fund’s high school scholarship.

WEF’s contributions to the Iqra Fund institution consists of providing secondary and higher school scholarships as well as professional development sessions offered to all 56 girls living in the various communities of the Hunza and Baltistan regions. The WEF program targets areas that experience harsh weather conditions, lack of infrastructure, and an overwhelming poverty population size. They believe that areas as such are in desperate need of educational funding since most families earn a low income and rely on subsistence farming. The Hunza and Baltistan regions receive no support from the government and thus most children residing there are stripped of their educational rights. In additional to the difficulty of obtaining an education, families who are able to afford schooling often don’t send their children due to the costs of lodging and transportation. WEF recognizes these difficulties and uses them as motivation to fund schooling and all other expenses for the innocent children that deserve a pathway to a sustainable education. As a result, WEF has partnered with the Iqra Fund in order to ensure these children are able to reach their full potential in all educational aspects.

Now, Sakina is thriving in high school in Skardu, and aspires to become a doctor so she can serve her community. She also feels that by becoming a doctor, she will be able to encourage her community to enable their girls to follow their dreams, the way her parents did for her.

“Girls in my village have a lot of potentials, but they live a very hard life of work at home and in the fields and all their potentials go to waste. I want to show them that they can achieve their dreams, like me”.