With mere pennies, an all-girls high school has opened in Afghanistan.
The non-profit Roots of Peace and its annual Penny Campaign works with students in the U.S. in organizing their student bodies to collect pennies and spare change to build schools, soccer fields and playgrounds in war-torn countries, with 100 percent of the proceeds going directly to the projects. Roots of Peace currently works in Afghanistan, Angola, Croatia, Cambodia and Iraq.
From the campaign’s website:
Our goal is to open the eyes and hearts of our students by engaging them to look beyond their own borders with compassion to other nations who struggle to achieve peace and become active participants in global peace-making – child to child…The program helps students…explore the plight of Afghan kids and other children less fortunate and contrast their own lives with those of kids in war-torn countries.
Founder Heidi Kuhn of San Rafael, California was approached by Dr. Habibi Sorabi, the first and only female governor of Afghanistan, to build a school for teen girls in the mountainous Bamyan Province.
As the only high school for girls in the region, it recently held its inauguration ceremony with Afghan boys singing for their sisters and 600 other female students. Kuhn and her daughter Kyleigh, who co-founded the Penny Campaign, were in attendance and delivered new computers donated by a Dubai-based company.
This is the second school Roots of Peace has opened in Afghanistan. The first opened in July 2008, transforming a tent school into a 10-room school with a soccer field and enclosure wall to prevent students from wandering into minefields. Kyleigh was inspired to build a school after a trip in 2005 when she saw Afghan students studying under the hot sun with only one small tent. She and her mother paid the school a visit after the all-girls inauguration ceremony to deliver computers that will soon have Internet access. And thanks to a campaign led by California Congresswoman Evans in Napa Valley, the 225 students received pens, notebooks and other school supplies.
Roots of Peace recognizes the need for education and youth development in war-torn countries in order to have future generations emerge from conflict and rebuild their nation. The organization points out that in Afghanistan, with 44.6 percent of its population under the age of 14, schools are vital in inspiring future leaders and social change. Without a nurturing environment, “they become victims of a continuous cycle of violence and a future without hope.”
Since the campaign’s inception seven years ago, it has raised 50 million pennies. To learn how to start a Penny Campaign in your local school, click here.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may
not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.