I followed up with the author of the article, and asked him how I might send money to the lady in question, and he answered today.
Nicholas Kristof wrote:
I don’t have great faith in the Pakistani postal system. So I’m arranging another route to get reader checks to Mukhtaran Bibi –I’m going to DHL them to an interpreter in the provincial city two hours away, Multan, and he’ll hand-carry them to Mukhtaran. I’ll cover the costs, so the donations will go 100 percent to Mukhtaran and her schools.
So the bottom line, for readers who want to help Mukhtaran’s schools, is that you’re welcome to send checks directly to her at the address I listed below. I think that the checks will indeed get there. But for a somewhat safer route, you can make the checks out to Mukhtaran Bibi (DON”T MAKE THE CHECKS OUT TO ME!) and mail them to me, and I’ll get them to her. My address is:
The New York Times, op-ed, 10th floor
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036
Mukhtaran seemed to think that a check made out to her (Mukhtaran Bibi), in U.S. dollars drawn on an American bank, would actually work in the bank account she opened in Pakistan with the other money she got. I don’t have full confidence in the Pakistan postal system, but as long as the check is made out in her name,nobody else will be able to use it. In other words, the risk is that the check won’t reach her, not that the money will be stolen by somebody else.
Anyway, her address is:
Post Office Wadowallah
There’s no electricity, but there is (amazingly) a phone in the school. From the U.S., you would dial 011 92 661 460-233. But even if you get through, there’s no one there who speaks English or even Urdu. Mostly, people speak their local dialect, but if you had a Punjabi speaker (from a local Pakistani restaurant, perhaps), you would probably be able to communicate.
If you write to Mukhtaran, write very simply. There is an English teacher at the school, Nasreen Akhtar. Now, I found Nasreen to be very nice and smart, but she does not speak English at all (English teachers rarely can in the third world). Nasreen can read a bit of English, though, and she could translate a simple letter to Mukhtaran. But I don’t think Nasreen would be capable of replying, so don’t expect a letter back. This is really a very remote, poor area, and there are no English speakers around.