Trip to Baltistan 2017

Sep 22, 2017
Summary of the trip made by the team of volunteers and workers of the Baltistan Foundation to the Hushe Valley and Baltistan.
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Summary of the trip made by the team of workers of the Baltistan Foundation to the Hushe Valley and Baltistan.

The group made up of the president of the Foundation and person in charge of educational programs Jose Manuel Ruiz, Txaro Otxandorena member of the governing board and person in charge of programs for the empowerment of women, health and hygiene, Irati Sancho worker of the Foundation and graduate from LEIIN and Garazi Merodio a volunteer architect.

The trip had two objectives. On the one hand, promote and strengthen a network of alliances with local and international agents, and on the other hand, do an on site follow-up of the current projects. Escuela Munawar I, Machulo


Both objectives have been more than fulfilled. The Baltistan Foundation team along with members of the Felix Foundation Baltistan have held work meetings with the following organisations: Marafie Foundation (in the offices in Islamabad and Skardu), United Nations-women, UNPD of the United Nations, CHIP, the Spanish Embassy and Bufete Ashan Chaudry, Sehhat Foundation Hospital, WAFA (Women Association For Advancement), Aga Khan University and PDCN, Karakoram International University

...., And also with people that because of their proven professional worth and generosity are qualified to collaborate in the social and economic development of the Hushe Valley, such as Fiza Farhan- a young businesswoman selected by Forbes magazine as one of the top 15 young social entrepreneurs in the world (Fiza will soon be in Euskadi), Raza Hakeem- an engineer specialized in traditional building systems and of course Aniqa Bano- a courageous, determined woman and creator of a school in Skardu for deaf-mute children, in which we have scholed 8 children of the Valley.



  • The new building of the Munawar Public School has been visited, which was recently inaugurated and will be able to take in 75 children in 3 new classrooms.
  • We have monitored the improvements in knowledge and socialization of the three deaf-mute girls and five boys of the Valley in the Aniqa school.
  • Also the awarding process of the 14 grants for higher education that have been applied for by 20 boys and 14 girls.The selection committee is composed of five people, four of which are former grantees.
  • The future needs have been identified in meetings held in the 10 schools with teachers, students, directors and committee members in each school.
Health and the empowering of women:


  • We have been surprised by the impressive acceptance of the hygiene and care during pregnancy and birth programs, with 423 women assisted during 2016 and 1,034 woman participants in the health workshops, numbers which have been clearly surpassed so far in 2017, and especially with no complications during pregnancy and birth and thus no deaths of any pregnant women, something which has been frequent up to now in the Valley. Regarding the project, you must remember that a health worker of the Valley has retrained in order to do the follow-up of pregnancies and births, and two other young women are studying at Gilgit University so that sustainability of the project is practically guaranteed.
  • A health survey has been carried out all through the Valley to confirm the high rates of hepatitis. The survey has been carried out in a sampling of families belonging to all the towns in the Valley and the fundamental commitment of the health committees and of Doctor Karamat, who was trained in Cuba, and who worked for 3 years in the Valley and along with the committees and volunteers has organized a training workshop, and several trials before the data taking that was done in only 24 hours. 140 surveys were gathered.
  • The follow-up on different activities has also been done, such as the literacy plan for women promoted by the National Commission for the Human Development Gilgit-Baltistan, in which 409 women participate in six-month courses taught in 17 centers, two of which are granted by the Felix Foundation Baltistan.
  • We shouldn't finish without mentioning Nazneen, the woman who promotes a training project for women, and is similar to the work that we do in the Vocational Centers. We have established a program and calendar of collaboration with her.
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We understand that the trip was very productive and has served to look in depth at strategic lines that we had established and that are working well. In addition, the network of alliances will be useful for giving a new boost to different projects. All of which will benefit the inhabitants of the Hushe Valley, especially for school-aged children and women.