United States supports education, economic development in Gilgit-Baltistan

News and Press Release
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Islamabad, July 10, 2012

Contact: Mark Stroh,
Spokesperson (0308-555-0591)

Gilgit, July 10, 2012 — Ongoing U.S. support for education and job creation in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) was the theme of a three-day visit to the region by United States Agency for International Development Deputy Director Karen Freeman that concluded today. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has invested approximately $1.2 million over the last two years in local civil society organizations and community groups in the GB region through the U.S. government’s Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Programs. The projects support existing community initiatives to restore flood damaged schools, build new dormitories to improve student’s access to secondary education, improve the community library, stimulate jobs, and improve agricultural production through irrigation.

Freeman met with women bee keepers of GB who are beneficiaries of a joint USAID-Hashoo Foundation project called “Plan Bee.” The project provides training and materials to women bee-keepers, and helps them find lucrative markets for their products. “The American people believe in entrepreneurship. This project not only improves incomes for 450 women, but it also has a ripple effect as women invest their income in their families, particularly the children’s education, which helps the wider community and the future of Pakistan. We are proud to partner with the Hashoo Foundation, which plays such a vital role in giving back to the community and serves as a model for others in philanthropy,” said Freeman.

During her visit, Freeman also visited two education projects, one in Gulmit and another in Gilgit Village Singal. In Gulmit, Freeman visited with students, parents, and teachers who are benefitting from the construction of a hostel for female students in a disaster-hit area of Hunza. At least 40 female students will stay in the hostel every year. Freeman toured the school and met with students, where she emphasized that the United States government is committed to not only helping communities rebuild after disasters like the 2010 floods, but also to improving access to quality education and teachers.

“Through USAID’s Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Programs we work together to identify projects that will not only directly benefit the people of Gilgit-Baltistan, but will also be developed, led, and implanted by the communities. We see these funds as a way to recognize and empower local heroes. We are proud to stand with you as you lead the way to a brighter future for Pakistan,” said Freeman. The United State Government’s Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Program in Pakistan supports civil society organizations by providing grants for social and economic development at the grass roots level. The Ambassador’s Fund and Small Grants programs will provide $45 million over a period of five years all across Pakistan.