Peace Corps Pakistan Group Ready to Help Again
By Erica Burman on Monday, August 23rd, 2010
For one group the photos and stories strike particularly close to home: Friends of Pakistan USA, a National Peace Corps Association member group.
Most Americans would be surprised to know that Peace Corps Volunteers once served in Pakistan—but they did. A total of 517 Volunteers served in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) from 1961 to 1965 and in West Pakistan (now Pakistan) from 1961-1967. (Volunteers also served in Pakistan from 1988-1991.)
It’s a small but tight knit group that was founded in the aftermath of the 2005 Pakistan earthquake. In 2008 they decided to focus on an area that would provide maximum longterm benefit to the country, namely education for girls. Working through The Citizen’s Foundation, the group has committed itself to raising $2,000 per year for five years to fund scholarships for ten Pakistani girls at the TCF Girls Secondary School in Phengali, Pakistan. Last summer three FOPUSA members traveled to Pakistan to implement science camps for 1,000 students at the school.
Now they are springing to action once more. As stated in their most recent newsletter, “Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who have served in Pakistan understand well what this [disaster] means—mudwalled homes melted away, livestock drowned, crops destroyed, water supplies polluted, even orchards uprooted—in the more productive fruit-growing area of Pakistan.”
Members of Friends of Pakistan have responded immediately by investigating relief agencies, urging donations online to those that have effective operations in Pakistan, and voting to send $1,000 in current FOPUSA funds to Pakistan. In addition, the group is drafting a letter to the USAID administrator with their ideas for developing more effective monitoring and accountability of future USAID projects in Pakistan.
The group is very interested in locating more Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Pakistan. You can learn more about FOPUSA and the work they are doing by visiting the FOPUSA website.