HELENA — The winter of 2014-15 started out to be a pretty good one for Doug Chabot; by Jan. 5 there had been only one fatality from avalanches in Montana.
A man snowmobiling near Big Sky died in an avalanche on Wednesday.
Most girls educated in Pakistan return to their villages because of strong family ties, according to Genevieve Chabot, co-founder of Iqra Fund.
With villages located at 9,000 feet, the growing season is short and requires intensive work during the spring and summer.
Without education, women in Pakistan's remote northern mountain regions are often married off as young as 15.
The northern reaches of Pakistan are marked by high mountains. The valleys below contain remote villages of 100 to 150 people living in mud brick houses.
In addition to educating children, Iqra Fund supports and develops adult literacy centers and provides funding for instructors and materials, especially for women.
In its first year, Iqra Fund has managed to secure $475,000 in direct donations and pledges.
Iqra Fund works with local community associations, teachers and parents to provide tutoring programs to supplement students’ education in schools.
High school scholarship recipients have their schooling, board and health programs paid for four years.
"This isn't just the Doug and Genevieve Chabot foundation, we want this to be an organization that is driven by the needs and desires of the communities," Genevieve said.
The village of Hushe is one of the communities in the Karakoram Mountains that the Chabots are helping.
Genevieve and Doug Chabot founded the Iqra Fund in 2011. Iqra means "read" in Arabic.
Villages at the base of the Karakoram Mountains sit at an elevation of about 9,000 feet.
Girls bundled up against the cold study in a classroom. Winter is the best time for studies since the residents of the agricultural communities have little to do then.
UPDATE 5 P.M. - Two Montana men died in separate avalanche accidents in the Cooke City area on Saturday.
Snow and windy conditions have prompted the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center to warn hunters to beware of avalanches as they hike into the mountains for the last week of Montana’s big game season. The season closes Nov. 27.
A 32-year-old backcountry skier broke his left femur after being caught and mostly buried in an avalanche he triggered Sunday in the Bridger Mountains north of Bozeman.
An avalanche-awareness workshop will be offered in Cooke City on Feb. 12-13. The course will run from noon to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. Indoor instruction will be held at the Cooke City Firehall.
With another 6 to 8 inches of snow overnight and continued strong wind gusts, the avalanche warning for the mountains around Cooke City was bumped to high on Tuesday on wind-loaded slopes.
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