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MUZAFFARGARH, Sept 12: The Mukhtaran Mai Welfare School faces high dropout and lack of funds, women’s rights activist Mukhtaran Mai told Dawn on Thursday.
The school was set up in Meerwala, some 130km from Muzaffargarh city, in 2002 with the help of a Canadian donor. She said the donor later asked her to charge fee or arrange financial resources to run the school. She said the school was not affiliated with the Punjab Education Foundation despite her efforts.
She said she was the first student of her school and studied till grade four but could not continue her education because of her national and international commitments for the cause of women.
She said when she started charging Rs50 per student, the attendance dropped because students said they could not afford fee. She said that there were 17 teachers who were paid salaries after two to three months. She praised their commitment as none of them had left the school.
She said the school which offered free pick and drop to students was now finding it hard to continue the service.
She said the school had once 750 girls on its rolls but now the number had dropped to 550.
Meanwhile, here is mukhtar mais speech at the Geneva Summit in Februray this year
MUKHTAR MAI GIRLS’ MODEL SCHOOL
One of the first projects Mukhtar was interested in was a school, the first for the girls of Meerwala. This school began in 2003, in a room of Mukhtar’s home. There was only one teacher and three students, including her.
She sees the school as her dream, believing that lack of education makes women powerless and contributes to their poor treatment. Mukhtar certainly found this out in her dealings with police after the assault.
From their website: “MMWWO believes that access to quality education for girls is essential for guaranteeing women full exercise of their civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights.”
In the early days, Mukhtar had a hard time persuading parents to send their daughters to school. Some were keen to see them educated, thinking they would have a life better than theirs. Others were reluctant, thinking that education would somehow spoil their girls; making it difficult to find them husbands.
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