|A Greenwich charity is urgently raising funds to build a school and rescue centre for girls in Pakistan.
The charity, Woodland Christian Trust, is supporting efforts to buy land and start building work on the urgently needed building.
Over 150 high school girls face losing their education within months unless work on the new building can start, following a government
decision not to allow the girls to attend an existing co-ed school.
The Rakhi Girls High School and Rescue Centre will provide education for 350 girls in Faisalabad region of Pakistan, and the rescue centre will provide sheltered dormitory accommodation for up to 126 girls.
The school is named after Rakhi, a 9 year old girl who was rescued after being violently raped by her employer while working as a house maid.
Unfortunately Rakhi’s story is all too common in Pakistan and the rescue centre will provide care and support for Rakhi and other girls with similar experiences - many of them work in terrible conditions in local brick kilns.
Woodland Christian Trust, a registered charity, is seeking to help raise £40,000 to buy the land and start the building work. A further £170,000 will then be needed to complete the building.
“Girls in Pakistan get a raw deal. Millions are denied education simply because they are girls. Malala Yusafzai was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan for simply wanting to go to school. It is not rare for girls as young as 8 years old to be sexually abused and frequently there is no justice for them, said Stan Gain, administrator of the Woodland Christian Trust.
The Rakhi school is needed after the Pakistan government withdrew permission for older girls to attend the recently opened New Covenant School in Faisalabad.
in September/October 2013, the government registered the New Covenant School on the understanding that boys and girls would be educated on different floors in the two storey building. But government officials changed their minds in November, when they decided that the girls had to be educated in a separate building.
Unless work on the new girls high school begins quickly, it is likely that the government will withdraw registration for all pupils at the New Covenant School.
A two week deadline was given on 17th January for work to begin on the new school, which is now the subject of an appeal.
“In December I visited the New Covenant School and was very impressed with the quality of education the 18 staff are giving. I also met some of the girls and families of the victims of abuse and saw how traumatised families can be left. I am determined that the Rakhi Girls High School and Rescue Centre will be built,” said Mr Gain.
Woodland Christian Trust is working in partnership with a church network in Pakistan that is overseeing the New Covenant School and many other local and national projects.