Building schools in flooded Pakistan
We write this to you in a time when Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan are in the midst of their worst natural disaster, and we encourage you to reach out with your prayers, support and contributions.
None of CAI schools were harmed in the recent flooding, but significant damage and fatalities hit the regions we serve (134 deaths, tens of thousands of homeless, and infrastructure destroyed). CAI reached out immediately with $ 220,000 for flood relief in northern Pakistan (specifically In Baltistan, Ghizar, Gupis and Swat in Pakistan and Kunar in Afghanistan), and provided an additional $ 100,000 to a committee that we created in northern Pakistan made up of twenty-six local leaders, government officials, ulema (religious leaders) and community activists, who are facilitating long-term support through the government.
CAI has built 37 more schools in Afghanistan (Badakhshan + Wakhan, Kunar, Logar, Parwan, Wardak, Urozgon, Panjshir province) and Pakistan (Azad Kashmir, Baltistan, Charpusan, Ghizar, Gupis and Dhok Luna valley – Punjab) regions in 2010: a total of 164 schools built. We are also running about 18 tent or temporary schools in refugee camps, nomadic camps, or areas of disaster or conflict as well as dozens of vocational training centers.
Over 68,000 students, including 56,000 girls attend CAI schools now. We have expanded our women’s vocational and scholarship programs this year by supporting dozens of advanced student’s scholarships. CAI has taken the initiative of upgrading, refurbishing, renovating our older schools, and streamlined our Pakistan operations through a central office.
Our incredible CAI staff in Central Asia continues to pull out all the stops to put schools in the geographically remotest parts of the world. We continue with our core belief put our schools in areas where there are no schools at all.
The book, Three Cups of Tea, continues to support our efforts, and this week is # 2 on the New York Times bestseller list after 189 weeks in a row. On November 1st, the new book, Stones Into Schools, will be released in paperback by Penguin. www.stonesintoschools.com. Our Pennies For Peace program www.penniesforpeace.org is thriving, and has gone in three years from less than 300 schools participating, to more than 5,000 schools participating this year. Last year, the National Education Association NEA, approved a curriculum so that the P4P program can be integrated into school systems for credit.
We are blessed to have people of all faiths, political persuasions, diverse backgrounds, and socio-economic diversity to support our efforts. Education can be a catalyst for change and to bring polarized people together. Several other people, including our previous Board Directors, my mother and family, CAI staff: Sadia Ashraf, Christiane Leitinger, and Laura Anderson, and others have spoken at hundreds of venues to help support our outreach – which we are grateful for.
Thanks from our CAI USA staff for your support, your kind donations in this time of economic hardship and for your devotion to literacy!
Greg Mortenson and Central Asia Institute
September 17, 2010