Pakistani students resume studies after floods

Hundreds of Pakistani students affected by severe floods in 2022 can now resume their education, thanks to U.S. scholarships.

The 500 new scholarships U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Donald Blome announced March 7 for university students affected by devastating 2022 floods build on long-standing U.S. support for Pakistan’s schools and universities.

“Pakistan has suffered from catastrophic floods where millions of people lost their homes and livelihoods,” Pakistan’s Federal Minister of Planning Ahsan Iqbal said. “We welcome U.S. support for flood-affected students.”

In 2022, heavy monsoon rains caused flooding and landslides in Pakistan, displacing hundreds of thousands of people. The U.S. government has pledged more than $200 million in assistance for Pakistan’s flood recovery since August 2022.

The funding provided for immediate needs, such as food, drinking water, nutrition and shelter assistance. It also will help Pakistan rebuild damaged infrastructure and invest in clean energy, disease surveillance and economic growth.

The new scholarships for university students continue ongoing U.S. support for Pakistan’s schools and economic growth, according to Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission chairman, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed.

Large group of women posing with some men on risers for group photo (U.S. Embassy Pakistan)
U.S. Ambassador Donald Blome announced 500 U.S. scholarships to Pakistani students at a March 7 event celebrating International Women’s Day at the Higher Education Commission in Islamabad. (U.S. Embassy Pakistan)

The U.S. government has awarded more than 19,000 scholarships to support Pakistani students’ higher education over the past nine years, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development. That includes 6,000 scholarships awarded in partnership with Pakistan’s Higher Education Commission to financially disadvantaged students through the Merit and Needs-Based Scholarship Program.

“Not only have these scholarships helped secure university education for many underprivileged students, lifting themselves and their families out of poverty, they have helped supply Pakistan with crucial skills and knowledge sets to drive the economy,” Ahmed said.

The countries’ educational cooperation also has trained more than 46,000 teachers and school administrators in Pakistan since 2013 and built or repaired more than 1,600 schools.

During the 2022 floods, schools constructed with U.S. support served as shelters in hard-hit areas, including in Pakistan’s Sindh province.