Department for International Development (DFID) Pakistan Head of Department Joanna Reid took stock of the Siyani Sahelian Second Chance Programme designed for girls’ education in Bahawalpur here on Wednesday 9th September, 2019 Reid was accompanied by Standing Committee on Education Chairperson Aisha Nawaz Chaudhry and four other lawmakers, including Member National Assembly (MNA) Mian Najeebuddin Awaisi, Punjab Minister for Food Sami Ullah Chaudhary, Member of the Punjab Assembly (MPA) Ehsan Ul Haq and Department of NFE & Literacy representative Zahid Nazir Khan. Maryam, Farah and Iqra shared the misfortune of being dropouts from grades 5, 8 and 9 due to various reasons such as poverty, inaccessible distances to school and early marriage, swelling the numbers of out of school children in Pakistan. However, in August 2018, their fortunes turned when the Siyani Sahelian (Advancing Action for Adolescent Girls) second chance programme was launched by Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA), a civil society organisation known for its nationwide citizen-led campaign on students learning outcomes ASER that influences policies and plans on education for quality learning. They witnessed the entire program interventions with a holistic inter-sectoral approach and innovative partnerships. The program combines accelerated academics with ICTs, health, menstrual hygiene, life skills, vocational training/entrepreneurship, and economic empowerment supported by caring mentors. The visiting dignitaries witnessed and heard these voices promising to do much more for girls’ education and continue with the program that has brought hope with strong outcomes.
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