News about the foundation, girls' education, and women's rights in Afghanistan
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Five million dollars in five years.
That's what CNN Hero Razia Jan's foundation is setting out to raise for its girls' school in Afghanistan. The group will begin rolling out its first-ever large-scale fundraising campaign in January.
"It will create a fund so that the girls in Deh'Subz can go to school for free as long as the school exists," said Patti Quigley, executive director of Razia's Ray of Hope Foundation. "This will have a huge impact on their future. It would be like investing in a girl for 13 years with one donation."
The funds will also help the group create a two-year program for the school's graduates to get certified in teaching, midwifery, computer training or tailoring.
A year ago, building a campaign of this magnitude would not have been possible for the group. With only Quigley and Jan handling the bulk of the work, they had little time to focus on the foundation's long-term plan.
This year, however, they were able to make significant changes thanks to a special training program created by the Annenberg Foundation, a leading supporter of nonprofits worldwide.
Last December, Jan and other top 10 Heroes from previous years, along with members from their organizations, attended the three-day intensive training designed to help the Heroes' nonprofits build a strong, sustainable foundation for long-term success. Annenberg provided the training -- known as Alchemy -- for free.
Razia Jan: I am so proud of the teachers and students at the Zabuli Education Center who just successfully completed another year of school. All of our students passed their rigorous final exams and have been promoted to the next grade.
This excellent news was a wonderful way to end what has been a remarkable school year. We built our new third floor with eight classrooms, providing six classrooms plus a science lab and an art studio. We also built another room on the first floor, which will be used as a gymnasium. And we’ve received high marks from the Ministry of Education, which has named us a top private school. We have many reasons to celebrate.
2014 will be our seventh year of operation. We will again have more than 400 students, including more than 50 new kindergarteners. (You can see one of them registering in the photo below!) Some of our ninth grade students may be skipping a year; if they pass their special exams they will be promoted to eleventh grade.
I have great hope that our girls will have bright futures. My vision and heartfelt desire is to continue giving them 110% of my support. I am deeply thankful to all of our supporters. I know you share this vision and my heartfelt desire for our students’ success. May we continue to change lives and empower the future women of Afghanistan.
Happy Holidays to all!
By Beth Murphy
KABUL, Afghanistan — After a four-day meeting in Kabul of more than 2,000 Afghan tribal leaders, President Hamid Karzai rejected the assembly’s recommendation that he promptly sign a long-term security agreement with the United States, pending further negotiations. In the meantime, Afghans from all walks of life and members of the international community wait and worry about the country’s future.
Many fear rampant and well-documented corruption will reach new heights and that Taliban power will again strangle the country after an American troop withdrawal in 2014.
But there is an alternative being embraced by those who have led progress in the country over the past 12 years and have no intention of sitting quietly by and watching it all slip away. Afghanistan’s peaceful majority refuses to make the future an adversary, the unknown the enemy.
Pessimists and determined optimists alike agree that a continued US security presence is key, particularly if Afghanistan is going to continue its current advances in girls’ education and steps toward equality for women. As former US First Lady Laura Bush said in a recent Washington Post op-ed, “these gains are fragile, and there is a real danger that they will be reversed.”
I’m reminded of Persian poet Hafez’s words: Fear is the cheapest room in the house. I would like to see you in better conditions.
Here in Kabul, this sentiment is deeply felt by the education advocates committed to holding, and continuing, their progress, no matter if or when the bilateral security agreement is signed.
“There is so much talk right now about people leaving Afghanistan. I can assure you, I am here to stay,” says Razia Jan, founder of a girls' school in Kabul Province, and a devoted, proactive member of the peaceful majority. “A lot of people are thinking about leaving when the US troops leave, but I am staying back to continue to bring hope and education to my girls.” Read the full article here.