Baleygon School – Pakistan
Education in the remote northern region of Pakistan is haphazard at best. Government funding often isn’t forthcoming; hamlets, villages and entire regions can have little in the way of educational facilities, leaving thousands of children unable to gain even a basic level of tuition.
Pakistan and, in particular, the Northwest Frontier, gave rise to Wild Frontiers in the late 1990s. Since then we have run countless trips through the region, for both group travellers and tailor made clients, and we consider this our spiritual home. With the country and its people close to our hearts, we decided that the first ‘big’ project for the Wild Frontiers Foundation would be to help build better educational facilities in the region.
What we did
We decided that if we were going to support educational facilities in the region, our largest fundraising campaign should also focus on the same area and the biggest challenge standing before us was K2! Just across the mountains in the isolated Hushe Valley stood the Baleygon School – 2 rooms, 10 broken desks, around 100 students (most of whom had to sit on a hard concrete floor even in mid-winter to learn), 1 teacher (who had to teach all students from 4 to 14-year-olds) and very little else in the way of equipment.
The project started in 2010. Wild Frontiers embarked on its first charity trek that year when founder, Jonny Bealby, and a hardy group of eight trekked up to the ‘Throne Room of the Mountain Gods’ for a view of the second highest and most dangerous mountain on earth. This challenge helped to raise around £20,000 for Baleygon School.
It was a long process, but the funds raised led to huge developments at the school including land purchase, three new classrooms and a new teacher. In 2012 there was an official opening of the new school extension amid much celebration.
Since then a new toilet block has been built. And it hasn’t stopped there. Supporting the school, students and wider community for long term sustainability, we are continuing to work and raise monies to fund additional teachers, supply educational materials and uniforms.
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