Genevieve Chabot, co-founder of the Iqra Fund, shows students at the Lowell Whiteman Primary School what she wears while working in places like Afghanistan while talking about the organizations’ projects in remote villages in the Middle East. The Iqra Fund is dedicated to increasing access to education, especially for girls, in remote villages in Pakistan, Morocco and Afghanistan. They work to produce opportunities for women and children to improve their quality of life through education. Chabot made the presentations along with her sister Kate McFee. McFee is a former English teacher at the school. Read the full story on page 3.

Photo by John F. Russell

Genevieve Chabot, co-founder of the Iqra Fund, shows students at the Lowell Whiteman Primary School what she wears while working in places like Afghanistan while talking about the organizations’ projects in remote villages in the Middle East. The Iqra Fund is dedicated to increasing access to education, especially for girls, in remote villages in Pakistan, Morocco and Afghanistan. They work to produce opportunities for women and children to improve their quality of life through education. Chabot made the presentations along with her sister Kate McFee. McFee is a former English teacher at the school. Read the full story on page 3.

Steamboat students learn about Pakistan

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For more information about Iqra Fund, visit www.iqrafund.org.

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Those interested in attending a private fundraiser for Iqra Fund at 6:30 p.m. today can call Kate McFee at 303-813-9295.

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Genevieve Chabot, co-founder of the Iqra Fund, talks to students at Lowell Whiteman Primary School about the organizations projects and life for schoolchildren in places like Afghanistan.

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Genevieve Chabot, co-founder of the Iqra Fund, talks to students at Lowell Whiteman Primary School about the organization's projects.

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Lowell Whitman Primary student Marjorie Hellyer posts a sticky note explaining the things she does in the morning during a normal day during a presentation about life in remote villages in the Middle East by Genevieve Chabot, co-founder of the Iqra Fund, and her sister Kate McFee, a former English teacher at the school. The women asked the young American students to compare that to what a child in Afghanistan goes through in a normal day.

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Kate McFee, a former English teacher at Lowell Whiteman Primary School, talks to students about the Iqra Fund and its projects in places like Afghanistan.

Lowell Whiteman Primary School students learned Friday that not all children their age are as fortunate as they are.

Not all children who live in remote mountain villages in Pakistan get to attend school, Iqra Fund Executive Director Genevieve Chabot told the students. Chabot, who showed the students photos throughout the presentation, said there aren’t enough resources for all of the children, and some families can afford to send only one or two of their children. The other siblings stay home.

The idea didn’t sit well with the Steamboat Springs kids.

“I would feel sad,” seventh-grader Eloise Borden said about not being able to attend school. “And that would mean one of my siblings could go to school. That would make me feel bad because maybe (my parents) like them more than me.”

Chabot co-founded Iqra Fund with her husband, Doug, in 2011 after traveling and working together in Pakistan since 2007. The nonprofit organization works to improve access to education for women and children in Pakistan and Morocco.

With help from her sister, Kate McFee, who taught at Whiteman Primary for five years before moving to Denver, Chabot led students Friday through an exercise about the lives of Pakistani children.

Lowell Whiteman Primary School students learned Friday that not all children their age are as fortunate as they are.

Not all children who live in remote mountain villages in Pakistan get to attend school, Iqra Fund Executive Director Genevieve Chabot told the students. Chabot, who showed the students photos throughout the presentation, said there aren’t enough resources for all of the children, and some families can afford to send only one or two of their children to school. The other siblings stay home.

The idea didn’t sit well with the Steamboat Springs kids.

“I would feel sad,” seventh-grader Eloise Borden said about not being able to attend school. “And that would mean one of my siblings could go to school. That would make me feel bad because maybe (my parents) like them more than me.”

Chabot co-founded the Iqra Fund with her husband, Doug, in 2011 after traveling and working together in Pakistan since 2007. The nonprofit organization works to improve access to education for women and children in Pakistan and Morocco.

With help from her sister, Kate McFee, who taught at Whiteman Primary for five years before moving to Denver, Chabot led students Friday through an exercise about the lives of Pakistani children.

The Whiteman Primary students were asked to write down some of the things they do at various times of day, such as eating breakfast in the morning, going to school during the day and skiing practice in the afternoon.

In some ways, the students were similar to their counterparts in Pakistan. But in other ways, the Pakistani children’s lives were much different.

In many cases, Chabot said, children in Pakistan have to walk hours to get to and from school. And it’s often after already doing chores. At school, they sit on a dirt floor. Younger students repeat the alphabet to learn English while older ones copy science textbooks to memorize the lessons. The school day is broken in half to accommodate more children. And after school, the children go home and help their families with more chores. After eating a dinner that consists of tea and flatbread, many families huddle together to sleep in the kitchen.

Chabot said the Iqra Fund — Iqra means “read” in Arabic — uses its funding to provide access to education for children, especially girls, and resources for teachers.

When she’s not in Pakistan or Morocco where she spends six to seven months of the year, Chabot said she works on the Iqra Fund’s programming, fundraises and meets with school groups. She said her goal is to educate the next generation.

“The more we’re able to share stories of how life is so different and so similar,” she said, “it gives these kids a better opportunity to make smarter, more culturally responsible, globally responsible decisions as adults.”

Debbie Gooding, Whiteman Primary’s director of admissions and development, said it was a good message for Steamboat students to hear. She said so many take what they have for granted, and hearing about how others live makes a stronger impression.

“I think it broadens their knowledge and helps develop tolerance and compassion for other people,” Gooding said. “Our world is getting smaller and smaller. They need to know how things in other parts of the world work.”

A fundraiser for the Iqra Fund at 6:30 p.m. today. Call McFee at 303-813-9295 for more information.

To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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