Our programs have changed hundreds of thousands of lives for the better. It’s crucial that this work continues so that future generations of girls, boys, women, and men have the same opportunities to succeed.
On behalf of all of us here at Central Asia Institute, I hope this email finds you and your loved ones healthy and well.
Needless to say, this is an incredibly scary and confusing time for all of us. Like many of you, however, we here at Central Asia Institute are taking measures to care for ourselves, our loved ones, our colleagues, and neighbors. We’re also starting to look more closely at how we can best help the children and communities in Central Asia who are also being affected by the virus. In the coming days and weeks, we’ll be developing a comprehensive strategy to address COVID-19’s widespread implications on our overseas programs. In the meantime, we’re reaching out to you – our dedicated friends and supporters – to share information as we face this global challenge.
How is COVID-19 affecting the countries, communities, and individuals that Central Asia Institute serves?
As is the case all over the world, the countries in which we work (Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan) either have confirmed cases of COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) or are at high risk. Thankfully, the number of confirmed cases is relatively low; however, the risk the disease presents to the health and welfare of the communities and individuals we serve is significant. This is due both to these countries’ lack of accessible, well-funded healthcare systems and the underlying vulnerability of their people. This is even more so the case for the impoverished, remote communities within these countries where CAI works.
The good news is that in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, where there are reported Coronavirus cases, the government is taking precautions to prevent the spread of the disease and protect vulnerable populations, including children. Schools have been closed until at least mid-April and borders with some neighboring countries have been closed. CAI is working directly with its overseas partners to identify solutions to help fill these gaps in education, as well as the impact of these decisions at a local level.
At a time when countries and individuals alike are being forced to close their doors, we’re striving to reach out across the globe to help those most in need to respond to the pandemic. By emphasizing the human spirit that connects us all – our common love for our families and compassion for those who are most vulnerable – we know that we can weather the current crisis.
What is CAI doing to help?
First, we’re doing what we can to share information and keep abreast of the rapidly evolving situation on the ground, both in the United States and in the countries where we work. This includes doing what we can to educate and share information with our international partners on best practices to avoid transmission and encouraging them to educate communities who may lack accurate information on the virus, how it spreads, and how to protect themselves.
We’re also educating ourselves on the unique risks the virus presents to the communities and populations we support. Most have no access to the internet and may not be getting accurate information; as mentioned above, the healthcare systems in these areas are extremely weak; children who cannot go to school may be facing additional risks at home, both physically and mentally.
Disruptions to daily life may continue for weeks or possibly even months. Consequently, Central Asia Institute will be adapting our programs to continue supporting remote communities. We will be looking at both immediate response programs, as well as long-term solutions like virtual learning or expedited learning programs if children are out of school for long periods of time. We’ll be sure to keep all of you informed as we develop and implement a comprehensive response.
Send a message of solidarity and hope to share with our partners and beneficiaries overseas.
If you would like to share a message of solidarity and hope with our friends in Central Asia, we would be happy to forward it along. Simply reply to this message. After all, we might need to physically distance ourselves, but social connection is more important than ever.
As always, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us should you have any questions or concerns, or if you simply wish to connect. We are always here for you.
Thank you again for your dedicated support for our programs, for your love of education, and for your compassion and caring.
P.S. In the coming weeks, we will do our best to share stories of hope to brighten your day. Even in times like these we have so much to celebrate. Keep an eye out for these updates.
Update on Central Asia Institute Programs in Pakistan
As you may recall, I wrote to you in April regarding new requirements imposed by the Pakistan government on international non-profit organizations. Under the new rules, Central Asia Institute and numerous other INGOs were required to re-register, a process that reportedly can take some time.
I’m happy to inform you that Central Asia Institute has partnered with two other non-profit organizations that are registered with the government. While CAI is still pursuing registration under the government’s new rules, this new partnership will allow us to resume our support for education in the remote and marginalized communities of Pakistan that CAI has long served using new implementing partners.
As always, we are extremely grateful for your generous support and for standing with us despite these hurdles.
You can also rest assured that the important work being done in Afghanistan and Tajikistan to promote education and livelihood skills, especially for girls and women, continues.
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at email@example.com.
Ambassador (ret.) Asif Chaudhry
Chair of the Board of Directors
Central Asia Institute
Update on Central Asia Institute Programs in Pakistan
As Chair of the Board and on behalf of all our staff, let me start out by thanking you once again for your generous support for the Central Asia Institute. For more than two decades, CAI and its in-country grantees in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan have engaged in a wide array of activities to support access to education and livelihood skills, especially for girls and women. Projects you support have directly benefited and impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of girls, boys, and women in some of the most remote and underserved communities in the world.
I’m writing to update you on CAI support for programs in Pakistan. At all times, CAI has strived to implement its educational projects in full compliance with Pakistani government directives and protocols. Unfortunately, however, recent changes instituted by the government of Pakistan regarding non-profit organizations have necessitated putting a hold on CAI’s support to the international grantees implementing the projects in Pakistan until new registrations are in place.
I want to assure you that the CAI Board of Directors, staff, and our Pakistani grantees are currently undertaking all necessary steps to meet the new requirements so that we can resume our support as soon as possible. Further, to the extent that working through these bureaucratic processes may take time, we will continue to keep you informed. You can also rest assured that the good work being done in Afghanistan and Tajikistan remains uninterrupted. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once again, thank you for continuing to support CAI, and for standing by us in the face of these challenges – challenges that will not deter us and which we are working diligently to overcome. Generous and lasting support from donors like you is critical to unlocking the full potential of girls and women through education, and to fulfilling our mission of promoting education and livelihood skills, especially for girls and women, in the remote regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan.
Asif Chaudhry Chair, Board of Directors
Women’s Suffrage, Equal Pay, And Finding a Voice
Women’s Equality Day, established on August 26, 1971, celebrates the day women earned the right to vote in the U.S. (August 26, 1920). The day continues to highlight the need for equal representation of women all over the world. As a nation, we have made huge strides in equality in the workplace, education and government. In other areas of the world, women are starting to demand equality. Central Asia Institute is working to help women in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan access education and work towards equality in their own communities.
Educating women is one of the most impactful ways to change societies. It can decrease early childhood mortality rates; studies show children of literate mothers have a 50 percent greater chance of living past the age of five. Women who are educated bring in 10 to 20 percent higher earning potential for every year of school completed. That additional income could be enough to bring a family out of extreme poverty.
Gender Equality Today
When women gain an education, they also gain a voice and a hand in their own futures. They achieve the ability read their rights, to understand and lobby for laws to protect them. They are less likely to allow their families to join extremist groups, and they provide a new path to peace. When women learn to read and earn educations, it improves the opportunity for equality the world over.
Achieving gender equality worldwide will create an incredible impact on the health and development of all nations. It’s so important that the United Nations Development Program named gender equality one of seventeen goals that make up the Sustainable Development Goals as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The group explains, “Empowering women and promoting gender equality is crucial to accelerating sustainable development. Ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls is not only a basic human right, but it also has a multiplier effect across all other development areas… There are still gross inequalities in access to paid employment in some regions, and significant gaps between men and women in the labor market.”
Women’s Rights Are Human Rights
At CAI, we witness the powerful effects of education on women’s equality first hand. Whether it’s a woman completing a literacy program and gaining the ability to read her rights, a girl receiving a health care degree to become a midwife in the village she grew up in, or a scholarship student breaking into a field once only open to men; our work provides opportunities for women and girls to become part of the development of their countries.
On Women’s Equality Day we want to celebrate the milestones that have already been reached through the hard work and courage of women all over the world. Young women in the countries we serve now dream of future careers. Our programs work to make those dreams come true. The road to achieving complete gender equality is a long one, but we’re committed to writing the map and reaching the destination through our programs in Central Asia.
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