As we sat in class and discussed our progress on our end of the year goals, I realized Kati and I totally forgot about our money situation. For every APO box we send to Afghanistan, it costs $12.95. Doesn’t seem like a lot of money, huh? Kati and I recently dropped off 32 boxes between the Holly and Cypress RAs with the hopes of each box being full of school supplies. $12.95 x 32 = a whopping $414.40! Not only do we have the support of the Holly and Cypress RAs but we’re also getting support from the Greek and Juniper Poplar and that means counting conservatively, I think Kati and I can easily receive 40 boxes.
So to this day, there’s a big ? on how we’re going to rally up the money to send these school supply goodies to the children. Because college students are generally low on money, Kati and I thought of a simple way our college students can help with our shipping funds without them going broke. Each Monday after class (depending on how successful we are on our first attempt), Kati and I are going to go to the USF Marshall Center with a money jar and a picture with some information about our charity. We’re going to ask for any spare change they have from purchasing their lunch. We’re also going to promote our Bull Market event on March 30th and spread the word about the $1 dollar pizza they can buy or receive for free by donating school supplies. I’m hoping that will at least help us alleviate our debt a little.
This past week was International Women’s Day which is a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In some places like China, Russia, Vietnam and Bulgaria, International Women’s Day is actually a
national holiday. I’d like you guys to meet Shaharzad Akbar from Afghanistan. She is the first Afghan woman to study at the graduate level at Oxford University. In a great article, she talks about Life in Afghanistan on International Women’s Day. She remembers how illegal it was for girls to go to school in Afghanistan under the Taliban regime so her family fled to Pakistan in order for her to continue her studies. In her father’s village, parents refused to send their sons and daughters to school because they believed it was corrupting. After 4 long years of fleeing, she returned to Afghanistan at 15 when the Back to School campaign began.
Since returning, she’s happy to report that there’s been a massive influx of girls going to school. Comparing to the 5,000 female students in 2001, there are now 2.4 million Afghan girls enrolled in school!
Not everything is fixed, however. There are still numerous obstacles keeping females from receiving a quality education. Things like poverty, early forced marriages and insecurity make it increasingly harder for girls to attend school. Another issue is the lack of female teachers and an actual building to learn. Many parents don’t feel comfortable with male teachers teaching their daughters.
The rising numbers of children being educated, especially for female students, is an indication of a great success. However, this success isn’t continuously guaranteed. Without our help with the school supply drive, many of these children wouldn’t be able to attend school because of their poverty stricken state. With a united front and a big heart, we can sustain support and attention and make dreams come true like Shaharzad Akbar has.