….wild is the wind…creative freedom is the seed….
Update 2016: I overlooked updating this project until now because it was something that seemed extremely volatile and at the time made me uncomfortable. Following my initial April telephone discussions with Zephaniah, where a number of tools and gifts were sent. I had a follow-up series of phone-calls on various mobile phone numbers where it was apparent to me that, I was not only speaking to Zephaniah; that she worked in conjunction with other equally well spoken English-speakers in her immediate surroundings. Furthermore when I was asked to sent things to Zephaniah it was via someone from the Pakistani Education Department. This prompted to make inquiries via a contact of mine in the Pakistani Embassy. I was advised that a number of initial conditions and context of the creation of the school and the circumstances of the project, could not possibly meet with the legal compliance of existing Pakistani laws within the region. I was told in no unequivocal terms that they find the nature of the project ….extremely unlikely….
For that reason, by telephone I withdrew my involvement with this project about 6 months into the project. But at the time, I agreed with Zephaniah that for her safety I will not discuss anything about her project until a much later date.
It is two years later and I would like to speak out about the discrepancies I found in the daily operation and the stories about this project. I do not have any personal judgement about any individuals in the difficult circumstances in Pakistan but I would like to say:
“When a person is able to tell the microscopic truth about their work and lives without embellishment, it is more Liberating than having to live a life, designed and instructed by political forces working invisibly in the background. Deep Down, no one should have to be a PR puppet when all that the world wants is for Pakistan to really give poor girls education.”
The fault is in those who place a young woman into the role of having to be a mouthpiece of distortion, just to promote their ideas of Nationalism. It divides women and traps them in regimes of fear and daily misrepresentation of reality. That is no way to empower anyone!
I am not sorry that Zephaniah’s model kids got some of the gifts sent. That is a great thing. I am sorry that because of the way Pakistani society has chosen to control its image to the world, so much misrepresentation of social reality had to take place.I wish the CHILDREN at this school and project all the best in the world! Inshallah! May they all be free from those who seek to distort the reality of their lives to the world for socio-political reasons.
OH BTW: THIS is the real Malala, no one else is her so let us stop the pretense.She didn’t tell stories of living in caves while in the city. She didn’t say she was threatened constantly. She didn’t change her age in any stories. She didn’t say she stood on her own and had no help. She didn’t discuss her religion or her feelings as a Pakistani Nationalist. She just got shot for going to school and then continued her REAL mission in life.
Truth is the most powerful thing in the world, lets not try to taint it.
Context of this update: Perhaps a greater understanding of why such figures are necessary can be explained in this book about anti-Malala narratives about Pakistani Education system. I am not Malala, counter Propaganda (All Pakistan Private Schools Federation (APPSF)
“ISLAMABAD: ‘I am not Malala’ — a rebuttal of Malala Yousufzai’s memoir ‘I am Malala’ — was launched yesterday to counter the narrative. The youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize Malala Yousufzai’s book “I Am Malala” was published in October 2013 that was co-authored by British journalist Christina Lamb. ‘I am not Malala, I am Muslim, I am Pakistani’ is a story of gallant Pakistani daughters and sons who take pride in being Pakistanis unlike Malala, said the author of the book, Mirza Kashif Ali, President All Pakistan Private Schools Federation (APPSF).”
As of April 2014, Sustain-able YU is honored to remotely mentor Zephaniah Free School in Pakistan, Making it possible to reach there where we are today, 500 educated girls, 100 empowered women during 16 years, in current classes 15 Girls in Beauty salon Training Center , 20 Girls in Stitching Center, 82 Students at academy and 15 girls in English language learning class.
From Cecilia to Zephaniah:
Zephaniah FE okay…this is what ur getting! Never argue with a southern Chinese woman about education…we have 5000 yrs of track records against the biggest sicko illiterate idiots and won! Lol. So here: x1 science calculator for ur new math teacher, x1 USB laop top lamp.
Use it to make them go to http://www.busuu.com to learn like 20 world languages for free! X3 science experiments kits to demonstrate physics, chemistry and biology including the one I like..how to add water and grow your own snowflakes!, x3 teaching books on history, science and superhuman achievements (aim high or no point aiming at all!) And finally x1 crouching tiger, hidden dragon DVD from Hong Kong cinema to show you all in a fun way what lengths educated ancient Chinese girls would go to to kick up chaos if they are asked to marry anyone they didn’t puck for themselves! I particularly like the “fight in bamboo junglescene!” Which reminds me: you need anti-rape self defence instructor that teaches techniques on how to go for eyes, throats, temple, kidney. Genitals all all soft tissues when attacked for the girls! I will ask my professional female self defence instructor friends to recommend some basic combat training. Take no prisoner darhlings….Chinese style! If it worth doing…it is worth doing to the MAX.! We start with this now! Sloooowly! Xxoo
From Zephaniah to Cecilia:
Thanks to my friend Cecilia Yu who has sent me these amazing things for my students, truth is this that I have never seen such things in my life, but now I will learn and I will read everything about them so that can tell to my students, My students have seen and they are very excited about them .In progress we are hundred of years behind as compare to first world, especially when we talk about grass root levels, children cannot have access to all that. so they read books but cannot learn new things, due to which most of our children cannot play a vital role in the progress of the country, but such things can lead them learn more . thank you my dear Cecilia Yu. I will show you soon what new experiences I can do with all this stuff.
Background Info to Gender Disparity in Education In Pakistan:
Patriarchal values are deeply embedded in the society of Pakistan, and its different manifestations are observed in different aspects of the society. As mentioned above, gender division of labour enforces women to primarily specialize in unpaid care work as mothers and wives at home, whereas men perform paid work, and come out as breadwinners. This has led to a low level of resource investment in girls’ education not only by their families but also by the state. This low investment in women’s human capital, compounded by negative social biases and cultural practices, restrictions on women’s mobility and the internalization of patriarchy by women themselves, becomes the basis for gender discrimination and disparities in most spheres of life. Some of the ramifications are that women are unable to develop job-market skills, hence, they have limited opportunities available to them in the wage-labour market. Moreover, social and cultural restrictions limit women’s chances to compete for resources in a world outside the four walls of their homes. It translates into social and economic dependency of women on men. The nature and degree of women’s oppression and subordination vary across classes, regions and the rural and urban divide in Pakistan. It has been observed that male dominant structures are relatively more marked in the rural and tribal setting where local customs and indigenous laws establish stronger male authority and power over women.
Cecilia is a Hong Kong Chinese-Australian Social Entreprneur, Artist, Directors of NGO in Africa, South Ameria, Asia and California who really really likes to "tell it how it is", having travelled to over 40 countries around the world & seen some interesting things every so often.
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