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Razia Jan

Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation would not exist without the spirit, vision, and tireless efforts of founder and president Razia Jan.

Razia has worked for many years to forge connections between Afghans and Americans. Her humanitarian efforts are honored in First Lady Laura Bush’s 2016 book We Are Afghan Women.

Born in Afghanistan, Razia moved to the United States in 1970. The proprietor of a small tailoring business in Duxbury, Massachusetts, for 20 years she served as president of the town’s Rotary Club. In the aftermath of September 11, Razia rallied her adopted New England community to send over 400 homemade blankets to rescue workers at Ground Zero after September 11.

Her efforts soon expanded to include sending care packages to US troops in Afghanistan. Through her involvement in the military’s Operation Shoe Fly, she coordinated the delivery of over 30,000 pairs of shoes to needy Afghan children. In 2007, she began working in earnest on what would become Razia's Ray of Hope: The Zabuli Education Center.

Razia has received many awards for her humanitarian work, including a 2012 CNN Top 10 Hero award, the 2007 Woman of Excellence award from Germaine Lawrence Inc., multiple Rotary Club International Peace Awards, and certificates of appreciation from the Army Corps of Engineers and the American Legion. Her handmade quilts commemorating September 11 have been exhibited at Madison Square Garden, the chapel at the Pentagon, and at fire stations in New York and Massachusetts.

She has spoken on women and children’s issues at venues across the United States as well as in Europe and Afghanistan. In 2014, Razia was named Social Innovator by the Lewis Institute at Babson College and in 2015 she was awarded a Woman of Action award from Rotary International at the United Nations in New York City. In 2016, she was honored with Rotary International’s Service Above Self Award.

Razia has served as a member of the Interfaith Council, the No Place for Hate Committee, and Jordan Hospital’s board of directors.

Today, as Razia continues her humanitarian work, school administration, fundraising efforts, public speaking, and spending time with family, she travels between Afghanistan and the United States.

Awards

  • International Women’s Day Award, International Institute of New England, 2018
  • Meredith MacRae Empowerment Award, Leadership & Education Fund for the Betterment of Women, 2018
  • Service Above Self Award, Rotary International, 2016
  • Global Woman of Action Award, Rotary International, 2015
  • Agent of Change Award, Rotary Club of Concord, 2015
  • Social Entrepreneur Award, Babson College, 2014
  • American Muslim Women’s Empowerment Council Award, 2013
  • John Quincy Adams Award, Bridgewater State University, 2013
  • Speak for Thyself Award, Alden Kindred of America, 2013
  • CNN Hero (Top 10), 2012
  • Germaine Lawrence Woman of Excellence Award, 2007
  • Certificate of Appreciation, Army Corps of Engineers, 2007
  • American Legion Certificate of Appreciation, 2006
  • World Peace Award, Rotary International, 2005
  • Duxbury Community Volunteer Award, 2004
  • Duxbury Concerned Citizen Award, 2004
  • Mary Lou Bigelow concerned World Citizen, 2002
  • World Peace Award, Rotary International, 2003
  • Presented with a piece of 9/11 glass rubble from the Pentagon by the Pentagon Chaplin

Affiliations

  • Founder and President, Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation
  • Past President, Past Director of International Projects, Duxbury Rotary Club
  • Past Member, Board of Directors, Jordan Hospital, Plymouth, MA
  • Past Member, Duxbury Interfaith Council
  • Past Board Member, No Place for Hate, Duxbury Chapter

Razia’s Work in Action

From our Afghan students to celebrities and authors,
Razia’s impact is celebrated by many.

“As Razia’s only child, I’ve witnessed her courage, vision, and compassion my whole life. The opportunities of which she’s made the most — coming to the US to attend college, starting her own business, raising a son on her own, and creating girls’ schools in her home country — were hers because of one thing: her education. One Afghan woman has opened the doors of education to hundreds of others. I see no more powerful testament to the difference each of us can make. My mother and these students are incubating the epochal transformation in Afghanistan that we so desperately need.”
Lars Jan, director, visual artist, writer, Razia's Ray of Hope board member