Azerha with her children in Korphe Village. Pakistan.
It all started with a book we read for our book club.... 3 Cups of Tea. I was very taken with the story and impressed with what Greg Mortenson has been doing on his own and now with the help of volunteers and donors. He is building schools in the remotest areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan with an emphasis on teaching girls. Breaking the cycle of ignorance & fear, promoting peace & hope and an end to terrorism with the simple tools of education and positive action.
In these remotest of areas, The Central Asia Institute( Greg) with the help of local advisors, local volunteers and villagers has been helping the people who live there take another route to better lives. The villages have great pride in their new schools. The CAI also promotes rural health care and helping villagers start small initiatives. You should pop by their website and read all that they do, it is remarkable!!!
These are porters carrying roof beams for a new school. Many are in sometimes very inaccessible areas. Greg works with Muslim clerics to overcome barriers to getting the work done and even prays with them occasionally. He is sometimes the first Westerner the children have ever seen and is a positive example to them of what Westerners can be and do. It changes their attitudes.
You can see how barren and remote the area is. This is Lalander school in Afghanistan.
The picture below is it's inauguration. These wee girls look so excited :)
Some Afghanistan facts... Life expectancy 43!!!, Average income per year $250, Literacy 36%
Some Pakistan facts...Life expectancy 63 Average family income per year 410$, Literacy 48% (UNICEF)
Greg Mortenson with Sitara "Star" Schoolchildren., Afghanistan. Star is the name of their school.
These kids live in the harshest of conditions and these schools are also warm and safe places to be.
Khanday Schoolgirls with new uniforms. Pakistan.
Chunda School Inauguration. Pakistan.
Gosh if you are still reading, hooray! So what has this got to do with me you ask? Well, often we read about a cause and think wow, that's great, good for them to be taking action. I read this book and thought this work is so worthwhile and then I thought, I'm going to ask for a donation from each of the book club members and we can support this. Then I thought, hey, maybe I can post about it and others might be inspired to donate too! I am going to make it easy and put a link to a paypal account at the end of this post.
I would love it if any one interested could donate as little as $5.00 or what every you want. I am going to tally it all up and then make a donation of all the money raised. We have already started with my bookclub. If you donate, please leave a comment here on my blog and I will be drawing for a print or photograph of your choice from all of those who have donated, as a way to say thanks from me.
It would be great if you could link to this post from your blogs. I think I think what he is doing is wonderful. Promoting peace and goodwill one brick at a time ! Make this your first Holiday gift. A gift of peace.
$50,000 will build a school and support it for 5 years
$5,000 will support a school for a year
$600 is a teacher's annual salary
$300 one advanced student's scholarship for a year. ( to continue beyond primary school, secondary school, at the nearest village that has more advanced school)
$100 Maternal health care supplies for a year
$50. one treadle sewing machine and supplies
$20. supplies for a student for a year!
Children of Bichik Khan, Buzzai Gumbad, Wakhan Corridor. Afghanistan.
Here is an article from the New York Times in July 2008 written by Nicholas D. Kristoff .
"It Takes a School, Not Missiles"
He tells the story much better than I do..... "Mr. Mortenson has become a legend in the region, his picture sometimes dangling like a talisman from rearview mirrors, and his work has struck a chord in America as well"
"To get a school, villagers must provide the land and the labor to assure a local “buy-in,” and so far the Taliban have not bothered his schools. One anti-American mob rampaged through Baharak, Afghanistan, attacking aid groups — but stopped at the school that local people had just built with Mr. Mortenson. “This is our school,” the mob leaders decided, and they left it intact.
Mr. Mortenson has had setbacks, including being kidnapped for eight days in Pakistan’s wild Waziristan region. It would be naïve to think that a few dozen schools will turn the tide in Afghanistan or Pakistan.
Still, he notes that the Taliban recruits the poor and illiterate, and he also argues that when women are educated they are more likely to restrain their sons. Five of his teachers are former Taliban, and he says it was their mothers who persuaded them to leave the Taliban; that is one reason he is passionate about educating girls."Thanks so much for supporting peace, education and hope .