Speakers shares experience building schools for girls in Afghanistan

Breanna Narlock, Editor

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  Speaker and school builder, Greg Mortenson visited the D.C. Everest Senior High School, and shared his and collectively others experiences from his time his non profit organization Central Asia Institute.

  Mortenson came with the program, ‘A Walk in Their Shoes’ set up by Colin Hanson, a fifth teacher in Edgar, Wis.. The purpose was to speak to students in AP World, AP Human Geography, Global Studies, and Mr. Fike also brought his Media Literacy students.    Accompaniang Mortenson was Drukhshan Farhad, a graduate from on of his schools in Afghanistan. Mortenson started Central Asia Institute to help give girls in third world countries a chance to receive an education in proper facilities.

  Drukhshan Farhad was born in 1997 to an Afghan family and her family fled the Taliban when she was just a toddler.  Her first school experience involved walking 45 minutes one way under the fear of a suicide bombing occurring.

  Of her early school experiences, Drukhshan said, “We didn’t even have enough chairs to sit on.We would come into the school an hour early just to take a chair to sit on. And if there was no teacher, then we would just sit and talk,” which was often the case.

  Her school then was inside a tent until she got the chance to attend one of Mortenson’s  schools.

  Farhad graduated at the top of her at Ishkashim Girls’ School (built by Central Asia Institute in 2008-9). She currently attends Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont, on a four-year, full-ride presidential scholarship.

  “I educated myself I’m not weak as a woman. We are built different. Just because we can’t do something doesn’t me we have to give up,” said Farhad.

  Her education and character she attributes to her parents, but also to Mortenson’s help.

  Mortenson advocates for a girls right to an education, which is why he built schools for girls and has helped Farhad.

  “Being born female in the world is still a great disadvantage,” said Mortenson, despite his helping women make strides. He said more needs to be done.

   To honor his sister, Mortenson founded the nonprofit Central Asia Institute, in order to promote education for girls in places like northern Pakistan, Afghanistan, and later Tajikistan.

  “There are the three A’s to change the world, the first one being awareness, the second being advocacy, and the third A being action,” said Mortenson. “If people are aware of what is going on around the world and they advocate for the people without a voice then it is a huge improvement, and when people start taking action, they are making a big change.”

  During his speech, Mortenson mention slavery and exploitation, with the mining of coltan by 300,000 children. The slavery causes them to work 12-14 hour days. He asked students to think about that when they look at their phone screens. Exploiters also use small children in the production of soccer balls because their hands are so small they have tinier stitching.

  “I am just trying to give girls the strength and courage to stand up for their rights,” Mortenson said of his overall purpose.  Education brings awareness, one of his three A’s to change the world.

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