TASLIMA’S STORY

Date of Grant: February 2011

Taslima is a Pakistani teacher in a conservative girls’ madrasa school run by the conservative Wahabi sect in Balochistan. Her life at home, at school and at work is tough and respect for her is rare. One day, she is invited to participate in a new curriculum training in math, science, history as well as human rights, non-violence and gender parity. Transformed by the training, she says, “I won’t let my sons fight in Afghanistan because this is not Jihad…

Taslima is taught by modern, trained teachers, through experiential learning, not rote learning. This is a first for Taslima where the modern world treats her with respect.
She is educated about women’s rights and human rights in Islam. She understands that women have the right to education and work – just like men do. She understands that true jihad is non-violent.

The transformed Taslima- says in her evaluation: “I won’t let my sons fight in Afghanistan. This is not an Islamic jihad. You can talk all you want to the men’s madrasas, but if you don’t engage us female teachers, it will be hard to stop the fighting. As mothers and sisters, it is we who can influence the men more than anyone else.” (name changed for confidentiality)

Challenge: There are approximately 5,000 girls/women’s madrasas in Pakistan. These are self governed by boards from various Islamic sects. Funding is scarce to train madrasa teachers but the pay off is great. The pilot trainings have demonstrated that women can be educated and contribute to creating peace – not war on the ground in Pakistan. Interestingly, funds to train 2100 boys’ madrasa teachers have been available. Why are the funds only scarce for women?

Invest in Muslim Women’s strategy is to take this program to scale and identify partners who will reach all the women’s madrasa teachers over 5 years.

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