My trip to Samundri, Faisalabad: promoting education for females in less economically developed countries
The challenges of poverty in girls’ education in less economically developed countries (LEDC’s) has been widely documented. The case of Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani national, shows the extreme difficulties females are still facing in securing education today. Due to Malala’s activism and global advocacy surrounding female education, gunmen attempted to assassinate her in 2012 for speaking out about such inequalities.
Due to the formidably low levels of opportunity for females in areas such as Samundri, Faisalabad, my family took the decision to fund and build an all-girls school there in 1958. The school was initially established as a primary school, but was converted into a middle school in 1963 and a high school in 1983, widening the scope of education to females aged between 7 and 16, as it stands today. With the help of the villagers, and the eventual takeover of the school by the local Government in 2013, the school now proudly provides education to 200 females.
The main catalysts for my family’s investment in girls’ education included the fact that female education assists in strengthening economies and generating jobs. Evidence indicates that if all girls attended school for 12 years, low and middle income countries may add $92 billion to their economy each year. Moreover, educated girls are proven to be in a better state of health and a stronger position to bring up healthier families. It is also less likely for educated girls to marry young or contract HIV, and it is more likely for them to have healthy and educated children. Every extra year of education completed by a girl reduces both infant mortality and child marriage rates. Furthermore, communities are steadier and can recover faster after conflict when girls are educated. It is also suggested that when a country provides all of its children with secondary education, their risk of war is cut in half. Female education is utmost important for security around the world as extremism prospers alongside inequality.
On my family trip, we visited the school to ensure all was running smoothly. We were delighted to see that the girls were taking their education seriously, and had been studying hard for their upcoming exams, as shown in the photographs I have taken. We had brought some stationary over and handed it to the schools head teacher for distribution. Upon talking to the head teacher, we were saddened to hear that the school was without a generator. Generators in LEDC’s are pivotal as they provide backup power when electricity is not available – which unfortunately, is often the case amidst the energy crisis in poverty stricken countries. Of course, without electricity, the school would not be able to function properly and thus we managed to provide funds to the school for the purchase of a generator to ensure the girls’ education would not be hindered in any way.
In conclusion, it was a successful trip to the school and we hope to have played some role in promoting the fundamental human rights of education for females in such LEDC! As a firm, Ridley & Hall are invested in human rights and promoting education across the board, as shown by their involvement with the twinning of the Huddersfield Law Society and Ugandan Law Society, which saw my colleagues travel to Uganda to provide training to Ugandan trainee lawyers and students. This is something I would personally like to take part in in the future, alongside other pro-bono/charity work carried out by the firm.