She got an Afghan village to allow their daughters to go to primary school. Now it's college time.

Right now, in the small village of Deh'Subz, Afghanistan, the first private, free, rural women's college in the nation's history is being built.

The pioneer behind the project?


Photo courtesy of Razia's Ray of Hope Foundation.

71-year-old Razia Jan, an educator who grew up in a more liberal Afghanistan before Taliban occupation. She later moved to the U.S. to attend Harvard University and then settled in Massachusetts.

After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Razia was determined to return to Afghanistan for the first time to support the women on her native soil.

In 2008, she started a free, private K-12 school for girls in Deh'Subz. When the men in the conservative village said they wanted the school to only teach young boys, Razia pushed back. “Women are the eyesight of this community," she said. “You are blind."

Photo courtesy of Beth Murphy/Principle Pictures.

In order to convince skeptics in the village of the importance of the school, Razia had every first-year student learn to write not only her own name, but also her father's. The men in the village were impressed that the girls could interpret English and read letters sent from the government.

It took time, but soon Razia had the support of the community.

Photo courtesy of Beth Murphy/Principle Pictures.

The Zabuli Education Center has been providing free community-based education as well as uniforms, food, shoes, and warm coats for seven years now.

During its first year of operation, the Zabuli center taught 91 girls; today it educates nearly 480 between the ages of 4 and 21. The only problem? The young women who are about to graduate don't want to stop studying. So Razia Jan decided it was time to build another school.

If they can't go to college, she said, the college will come to them.

Jan's foundation, the Razia's Ray of Hope Foundation, launched an Indiegogo campaign. By August, they successfully raised over $117,000 to fund the building of the Razia Jan Technical College. The two-year program will train women in computer science, midwifery, literature, English as a second language, and teaching. The goal is for the young women to return as teachers at the Zabuli Education Center or serve as nurses in the community.

Photo courtesy of Razia's Ray of Hope Foundation.

Only nine days after the Indiegogo campaign ended, the center's building foundation was laid in the village.

“Razia moves fast," says Beth Murphy, who has been working on a film about the Zabuli center.

Photo courtesy of Razia's Ray of Hope Foundation.

The seven girls who will attend the college in the spring will graduate from high school this November. Murphy says the success of the school is so dependent on the support of the community. And it sounds like they've got it. Says Murphy: “Men in the community are already verbalizing that their daughters will graduate with careers."

And if Taliban occupation were to infiltrate the area again?

Murphy says a shopkeeper across the street from the education center told her: “If anyone tries to do anything at the schools, they'll have to put the bullet through me first."

Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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The global eradication of smallpox in 1980 is one of international public health's greatest successes. But in 1966, seven years after the World Health Organization announced a plan to rid the world of the disease, smallpox was still widespread. The culprits? A lack of funds, personnel and vaccine supply.

Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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