Annual trip to the Hushe Valley

Oct 20, 2015
Txaro Otxandorena and Pedro Ibarra, members of the Board of Baltistan Fundazioa went on a business trip to the valley of Hushe this summer. We kindly requested Pedro to give us a brief account of his views. You can read what he wrote in the lines below.
Card image cap

Every year we go to Machulo, to Baltistan, to meet our counterpart; the Felix Foundation Baltistan. (FFB). It is necessary to see things on the ground and reflect upon what should be done together with them. Above all, we travel there in order to listen to the people.

This year it was Txaro’s turn and mine. We have been there for a couple of weeks. We have been talking to the friends of the FFB, to the teachers of the schools that have our support, to the women of “our” women centers, to the people of the valley. Today, many of them can be called "our people".

Things are going well, especially in its basic aspect. FFB has assumed the need and achieved leadership for the complete development of the valley in an organized and participatory way.

Steps are being taken in that direction The Foundation is committed to preparing a strategic plan that formally gathers that option in detail. Not only is the coordinating team and sectorial networks being reinforced but the Board that has been elected is large, representative (with 5 women!) and active. The implementation of the strategic plan, which is really ambitious, will involve the extention of the activities and areas of action in the valley. For that reason, they need new financing sources and they are already on the lookout for them.

We are fully convinced that a new era for development in the valley is just beginning. A development that is broader, more interconnected and better led by the communities of the valley represented by men and women in the FFB.

Our projects and education activities are working well. The number of girls in schools has increased. More teachers are trained. Girls continue with their studies out of the valley. New teachers have been recruited for remote schools.

Nevertheless, some deficiencies remain and new challenges come up. More teachers are needed and are required to be trained. More classrooms are needed to be built and others to be rebuilt. More education material is required. We have to battle for the well-trained teachers to remain in our schools. We have to push, still further, girls’ schooling. And possibilities for girls to go on with their studies outside the valley must be increased.

Substantial changes can be observed in the development of qualification and progressive empowerment of women in the valley. To begin with, there are 5 new women in the FFB Board. It is essential that the organization leading this development process can provide evidence of the inner change itself.

On the other hand, and although last year there were some trouble of responsability in management, three centres for women have remained open. Before the year ends another two will open up. Maternal and child health assistance will have a significant growth in the coming months. Nuzhat Kirn has been chosen gender coordinator in the valley, she has worked as a teacher in Munawar up to now.

But there is still a great deal to do. Women are learning trades in the centres for women. However, there is still a long distance from that point to another where women can organize themselves and obtain greater independence with their own economic activities.

Now, back in Bilbao, our task is to convince you to keep giving us your support. That’s what we are involved in now.

Txaro and Pedro.