Sasha's Fund for Pakistans' Girls

The backstory.

For my Bat Mitzvah mitzvah project, I am raising money through the sale of a custom-made necklace (designed by me! photo below) for girls’ education in Pakistan.

I lived in Dubai for 2 years when I was little and our family had a friend there named Zia. Zia had moved to Dubai from Pakistan and his family was still living in the Swat Valley. We would always see pictures of his young daughter in makeup and pretty dresses. I was so curious about the culture and beliefs of Zia's family.

A few years later after moving back from Dubai I began reading the book, “I am Malala,” about Malala Yousafzi. Malala is a strong young activist who was shot in the head and suffers disfiguration to this day just because she was speaking out for girls' education. I was surprised to read that Malala lived in Swat Valley, Pakistan, just like Zia's daughter does.  That's when I knew exactly what I wanted to do for my mitzvah project.  Zia's daughter, and all the ofther girls in Pakistan,  deserve an education that will give them the same opportunities I have here.

The process.

Now that I knew what I wanted to do, I needed to research and decide how I was going to do it. I contacted Zia’s family to ask them what would be the most helpful way to help Swat Valley and their schools.

Zia had us contact his brother, Nizam, whose daughters attend a very poor girls' school in Swat Valley. Nizam sent us photos of the school and told us that the best way to help would be to raise money so that they could buy real desks for their students. It was unbelievable to see the girls sitting on the floor of their classrooms, which consist of nothing more than one chalkboard and a few books.  It really made me realize just how lucky I am to have an education at an incredible school, especially knowing that more than 60 million girls on this earth are not allowed an education at all.

Next I needed to think of a creative way to raise money. It finally came to me that I wanted to design a necklace charm that could be a symbol for this effort.  I was considering images or different words, but I kept coming back to the word "equal." It is a powerful and simple way to represent what we are trying to achieve for Pakistan's girls.

I also wanted to honor Pakistan's culture, so we translated the word "equal" into Urdu, designed the jewelry, and, with the help of our friend Meredith of Meredith Kahn Jewelry, we created the custom necklaces.

The necklaces!

Our necklaces, which will be mailed to anyone who donates $50 or more, consist of a 0.75" diameter zinc pendant plated in 14k genuine gold on a 16" brass chain.  I hope you love wearing them as much as I loved designing them!  You will be a symbol of equality wherever you go!

Please help me give these girls in Swat Valley the equal education and proper learning environment they deserve.

Thank you!


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Jessica Herthel 
Newport Beach, CA
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