When I walked into class today, a very rewarding and encouraging sight welcomed me: carts full of boxes and school supplies waiting to be packed. There were probably around 20 boxes waiting to be sorted through, repacked, and taped up. It was then that Professor Temple informed us that Zazu and Zoe were on their way with around 15 more boxes! This was going to be a very busy and productive two hours!
We also had another surprise waiting for us. A guest in attendance, by the name of Shams Rahman, had found our class through the USF Oracle. Shams is a Fulbright scholar who is pursuing his Master’s degree in Public Health at USF. As he introduced himself and shared his background, he informed us that he was from Eastern Afghanistan and studied in schools very similar to the ones we are helping. He thanked us profusely for all that we are doing, and ensured us that the cause we were helping was a life-changing one. He acted as a student in our class, taking in all of the information that we shared. As we went around the room to give our weekly progress updates, we let him know a little about the projects we were working on and the events we were planning. It’s amazing to see how many boxes we have filled and the amount of money we have raised. Most students in the class are finished raising the necessary amount of supplies, but are still working diligently to raise even more!
Soon after giving our progress reports, we quickly dispersed into mini-teams to make the packing job even easier. Some people filled out customs forms and assemble boxes, while others sorted out the supplies and began to pack them. We were a bunch of busy working bees! Even Shams jumped right in, helping Professor Temple assemble boxes. He explained that he was writing an email to send to ask people for help and let them know of our cause. Education has become such a major component of his life that he wants to make sure others receive the opportunities that he did. He shared ideas with Professor Temple, and expressed to her how effective videos would be.
As the packing finished up, I began to talk with Shams and Sarai about his background and experience. He grew up in schools similar to the ones we’ve written about, and remembers the hot days sitting underneath a tent. He explained to us the difference in educational systems, and said that they learn a broader range of information, whereas the American education is more specialized. After taking certain classes, you are able to take a test that will give you different opportunities. Since his scores were so high, he was given a scholarship to study at a higher level. Amazingly, he is currently pursuing his 3rd graduate degree, having already earned an M.D. and an MBA. He plans on opening a research lab in Kabul after obtaining his Master’s in Public Health. He also has worked for years, with places such as Johns Hopkins University, to earn money to help put his 3 sisters through school. The passion Shams held for his education and joy he got from learning was very motivational and rewarding. All of his successes are very inspirational, and motivated me to want to accomplish something. It was another reminder of what a beautiful cause education is and how greatly children in Afghanistan need help.
Opportunity is everything, and without opportunity you can’t have success. Shams is a perfect example of what a lot of hard work and a little opportunity can do for someone’s life. As a result of his dedication and sense of purpose, he has been able to give opportunity to his three sisters as well. The 40 boxes we filled today will give opportunity to students all over Afghanistan, but it can’t stop there. We still need more supplies to help further the education of all of these children! Bring your school supplies to the USF Bull Market on Wednesday, April 6 from 10-2, or to the Kaleisha Tea Event on Friday, April 8 starting at 7 PM! For a complete list of items we collect visit: