Our History

The Beginnings

Barakat began as a partnership between a carpet-weaving business based in Punjab, Pakistan and a carpet-selling business based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The two founders, Habibullah Karimi, an Afghan refugee living in Pakistan, and Chris Walters, an American small-business owner, decided to reinvest their profits back into the communities where they have been working, in order to promote education, particularly for women and girls.

Photo of Co-Founders Habibullah Karimi and Chris Walter

Our Challenges

Barakat originally wanted to open its first school in Afghanistan, but the Soviet withdrawal and following Afghan Civil War left the country in too much turmoil to make this possible. Instead, Walter and Karimi turned their efforts to Attock, in Northern Pakistan, where a large number of Afghan refugees had settled, and began work on the first of the now three schools Barakat has in the country. When the Taliban was finally overthrown, Barakat moved into Afghanistan where it currently operates two schools and home-based literacy programs for girls and women who cannot attend formal school. Barakat, Inc. was formally registered as a US nonprofit in 2000.


Barakat Today

Today, Barakat has grown from one school in Pakistan into an organization spread across two countries, serving more than 3,000 women and children each year. Barakat Afghanistan and Barakat Pakistan work toward our mission by employing entirely native staff and teachers who represent the student community. We have established close, long-lasting relationships with the communities where we work. These relationships allow us to focus on helping more people and making our programs more effective. Barakat strives to make the maximum impact possible with each dollar, so we have high standards for our country programs. Barakat is committed to providing exemplary basic education in Afghanistan and Pakistan at no cost to the students.