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Zulfikaur Wajid-HasanBestway Head OfficeBestway FoundationAbbey RoadPark RoyalLondon NW10 7BW5 December 2008Dear Mr. Wajid-Hasan,RE: PLURALISM AND DIVERSITY IN ASIA: PROMOTING THE RIGHTS OFRELIGIOUS MINORITIES THROUGH EDUCATION AND TRAINING [RMA]I am pleased to submit to Best way Foundation a new proposal for fund from Minority RightsGroup International (MRG), an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) workingsince the mid 1960’s to secure rights worldwide for indigenous, tribal peoples and ethnic,religious and linguistic minorities, and to promote co-operation and understanding betweencommunities by bringing together groups with different views to share experiences and solveproblems collaboratively. MRG is a rights-based organization which, in partnership with others,seeks to persuade decision-makers – and through them communities – of the need forconstructive change involving minorities.The programme we are implementing focuses on the struggle against discriminatory practices ineducation in countries in which religious minorities’ access to education is often denied or hardto guarantee, particularly in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Pakistan. Started in 2006, this is a5-year project; the first step towards the achievement of our goals has already been takenthrough an improving review of existing curricula and textbooks and the introduction ofexamples of good practice in teaching.Now the second phase of the action is to be carried out and it will aim to enhance theunderstanding by religious minority teachers, parents and students of their duties and rights toeducation through increasing advocacy around their access to better curricula and teaching.In particular, next steps will be: 1. continuing the creation of alternative curricula and materials,particularly developing classroom topics/materials relevant to the situation in each specificcountry; 2. organizing national and regional workshops for both teachers and parents, in order topromote understanding of good practice in classrooms and of pluralist teaching methodologiesand also to develop shared understanding of the importance of pluralism and diversity ineducation; 3. lobbying and getting in touch with key decision-makers within the countries inorder to get more effective and long-lasting results.Our intervention strategy is based upon the collection and development of models of goodpractice which we will publish, translate and advocate for and upon the training of teachers intheir use. The majority of the programme activities will target schools and local communities in 3states in India, 2 provinces in Pakistan & the Dhaka area in Bangladesh. Decision makers inthose areas plus at national level will be targeted in advocacy activities: actually, if national
governments change education policies and curriculum, there is the potential for huge numbersof people across the country to benefit, not just the programme focus areas.The main concrete results we expect from this programme are: increased capacity of religiousminorities to be involved in developing curricula; the existence of viable, tried and testedcurricula materials which reflect religious pluralism and diversity; information and evidence-based advocacy ensuring that key decision-makers in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesiahave a deeper understanding of the situation of religious minorities; increased understanding atregional and international fora of the rights of religious minorities and increased linkagesbetween religious minority representatives and regional and international decision-makers.We believe that this programme meets fully your priorities because its main purpose is toenhance education strategies providing proper means of assistance for those who have not fairpossibilities of accessing it. We all know how fundamental can be receiving good teaching, notonly in order to learn skills and abilities, but mainly to develop basic values such as humanity andrespect for one’s own and other people’s rights. This is particularly urgent in marginalizedcountries, such as those in Southern Asia, because getting a higher level of education theremeans giving disadvantaged peoples a chance to overcome their underdevelopment.MRG has already got generous support from Irish Aid and CAFOD to implement the first yearsof this programme, but funds we received are not enough to continue our activities and carry outthe project completely. Considering your priorities, we thought if you might be interested insupporting our foundation with contributing one of the in-country teacher training workshopsand one of the activist and parent workshops planned for next year: we would like to request anamount of £12,000, which would allow us to provide for participants, partners and trainers’accommodation and activity in both the workshops.We hope that the Trustees will consider this proposal something significant enough to decide tohelp us in carrying on our purposes and values.Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us for any further enquiry about the project or ourorganization.We look forward to hearing from you.Yours sincerely,Sara MarabisoFundraising DepartmentMinority Rights Group