Since we established a connection with Attal in Afghanistan and moved forward with planning our first fundraising project there this summer, I’ve been reading as many stories about education in the country as I can find. Tonight, I happened across a short post by the Central Asia Institute called “Back to School in Afghanistan”.
The author, CAI co-founder Greg Mortenson, tells the story of a little girl called Mariam, to protect her identity, waking up and finally getting to wear her new school uniform and begin her education. It’s a touching scene, and one that I hope will be mirrored by many children who attend the Khawat valley school. The excitement of going to school on the first day for these young boys and girls is similar to the excitement of many American schoolchildren on the last day of school before summer vacation. It truly is a gift, especially in rural areas like the Khawat valley.
As I read, one line suddenly made me stop short: “Reese, I have greetings to you from 3 million Afghan girls who are attending school today”. I read it again. And once more.
“Fourteen years ago, there were exactly none. Each one of them wants to entertain the hopes you do.” Ashraf Ghani, the President of Afghanistan, was addressing a young girl, Reese Larson, in the audience of his visit to Washington D.C.
But to me it meant more than that. Somehow, I had stumbled upon this story among surely hundreds of others, and perhaps thanks to what I’ve always known to be a somewhat unique name felt like I was being directly addressed by children in Afghanistan who are dreaming of the opportunities I have been blessed with so far in my life. It affected me deeply.
While it may have been pure coincidence, this particular story reinforced my already-strong conviction that this is the right place and the right time for me to lead this project for the Giving Circle. I know that we do things the right way, and that every penny we raise will go to the children that I heard speaking to me tonight. I hope that you will join me in sending our own message back to them by giving them a better education and hope for a better future.
Cheers – Reese