Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stones Into Schools

I just finished reading Greg Mortenson's newest book, Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs in Afghanistan and Pakistan. I recommend it to everyone! I thought it was even better than his best seller Three Cups of Tea. He has an extraordinary story. Through his Central Asia Institute, (CAI), Greg and his team in Pakistan work to build schools, in remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Many of these schools are all girls schools or women's centers. They overcome an amazing number of obstacles, from hauling building materials over non-existent roads with a series of yak trains, people and trucks to evading the Taliban. Many of the places they work have never had schools before. The wonderful people inhabiting these villages have been seemingly forgotten by their government which provides them no services. In spite of their dire situation/ or maybe because of it these same villagers have a hunger for education. They see their children's education as the hope of the future and will go to great lengths to provide schooling even with almost no resources. Greg describes how in one area he passed an old public toilet that was packed with children and a teacher, using it as a makeshift school. Many villagers travel days just to see Dr. Greg, as he is known over there, to petition him to build a school in their village.
At the printing of the book in 2009, the CAI had built 131 schools throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan. The CAI operates through the generous donations of people throughout America, but they are always in need of more funding. For donation information check out the CAI website at www.ikat.org. Greg is passionate about eradicating illiteracy around the world.
Greg's work is tremendously inspiring. After reading his book it almost makes me want to head over there to help out. Then I realize I can help out over here. Teaching children is already my passion but I can do more to help. I can make helping women and children everywhere be my number one priority.