Monthly Archives: August 2010

Displaced in Pakistan Seek Food, Shelter Among Barakat Community


Thousands of people are being displaced in Pakistan from what many experts are calling the worst monsoon floods in more than 80 years. Of those, nearly 600 have fled to the town of Attock in Punjab, the home-base of Barakat Pakistan’s schools and programs since 1994.

“These families are as newborns, with nothing to their name,” said Habibullah Karimi, Barakat’s co-founder.

Thousands of people are displaced from what many are calling the worst monsoon floods in over 80 years.

The estimated 75 families have come to Attock from the Azakhail Payon Afghan Refugee Camp in Nowshera, North West Frontier Province (NWFP).

“We survived only because we got on the train tracks and the roadways, which are on higher ground. And from there, we hitched rides away from the rising waters,” said one of the flood’s survivors.

As of now, many are staying in the homes of local relatives or friends in Attock. However, the local community is also made up of many refugees, and suffers from a poverty-stricken economy and a lack of resources, as it is.

Barakat is working closely with our Pakistani subsidiary  to — first and foremost– supply these families with food and cooking utensils, clothing, medicine and funds.

We also re-open our schools on August 15, and will welcome in the influx of children from these displaced families with open arms, but we’ll need to provide these students with uniforms, textbooks and other supplies.

In order to effectively provide food, shelter, medicine and clothing, as well as accommodate our schools, we at Barakat estimate that we will need to raise $10,000 for the victims of the flood.

So, we need your help! Please donate to Barakat now, and be ensured that our organization has been established in this community for over 16 years, and will use our first-hand knowledge to correctly allocate the donations to those who need them the most.

By donating now, you will help provide a safe, healthy environment for families escaping this disaster.

Written by: Lisa DeBenedictis


Afghan Women: No Crime, Senseless Punishments


Last week, an 18 year-old Afghan woman named Aisha fearlessly posed for the cover of Time Magazine; her otherwise beautiful face left horrifically disfigured by her own husband.

18 year-old Afghan woman Aisha's nose and ears were cut off as a punishment for trying to escape her abusive in-laws.

Her crime?

Attempting to run away from said abusive husband and his family.

Despite pleading with her judge, a Taliban commander, that she ran away only because she feared that she would be killed,  her brother-in-law held her down while her husband pulled out a knife and cut of her ears, then her nose.

Now, Aisha is under the protection of a women’s shelter in Kabul, and her face has become an iconic symbol. Women in Afghanistan continue to face physical, emotional and social abuse. They need your help.

Barakat continues to provide help and support to women in Afghanistan, weaving ourselves delicately into their society to better understand their norms and expectations.

We work with communities and families to take steps together toward the advancement of women’s rights. Whether it be through our Home-Based Literacy Programs that allow women of all ages who cannot go to school become literate, or our Human Rights Teacher Training that provides teachers with this knowledge, so that they can pass it on to Afghanistan’s children, we at Barakat work with the people of Afghanistan for change.

Help an Afghan woman now.

Written By: Lisa DeBenedictis

Flooding in Pakistan a Devastation, Barakat Prepared to Help


More than 900 people have died in what The New York Times is  calling “Pakistan’s worst monsoon flooding since 1929”.

In a country already stretched too thin with poverty and lack of resources, more than a million Pakistanis have been left homeless. And according to General Nadeem Ahmed, Pakistan’s head of national disaster management authority, over 58,800 homes have been destroyed.

Barakat has three elementary schools in the Attock province of Pakistan. Arti Pandey, the program direction of our Cambridge, Massachusetts office, has spoken with Barakat officials in Pakistan, and thankfully, no one in those communities, and none of our schools, has been affected by the flooding.

In the past, Barakat has gladly opened up our schools to victims of flooding in Pakistan; most recently during the flooding in 2005. Today we stand ready and willing to help again in Pakistan, and our hearts go out to each of the victims.

Click here to help Barakat help Pakistan.