United Sikhs, a world wide organization based in New York, USA, has announced scholarships for 39 Sikh students living in Pakistan. The move by united Sikhs comes after many Sikh families in Pakistan have been forcefully displaced due to on-going conflicts between the Pakistan government, and the Taliban. With its “STARAE” (Scholarships as a Tool to Accelerate and Revive Academic Excellence) Project, United Sikhs is aiming to boost education, and literacy rate, among Sikh students of Pakistan.
A United Sikhs Project Co-ordinator, was quoted in the press release as stating that “the literacy rate among Sikhs, and other minority communities, in Peshawar, especially for girls, is very poor. Girls in the tribal areas seldom get the opportunity to go to school due to the war against terrorism, and poor socio-economic status of the community in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Federal Administrator Tribal Areas (FATA). The STARAE scholarship project will make a difference to the lives of the needy, especially those who belong to the FATA region.”
This project of United Sikhs has also helped the children of martyred Shaheed Jaspal Singh who was beheaded by the Taliban in 2010. Sikhs like Jaspal Singh have been targeted by Taliban seeking ransom money in form of Jazia Tax (Islamic tax imposed on non-Muslims for their protection).
The cost for United Sikhs to sponsor one student per month is £20 GBP / $30 USD. With its STARAE scholarship, United Sikhs seeks to help Sikh students in Peshawar attain high school degrees.