Thursday, December 12, 2013

Brilliance in Afghanistan

When I was in high school I had the honor of becoming a colleague of a young woman named Clotilde Dedecker.  She is a brilliant and compassionate mind from a rival all-girls high school near mine who created the idea of raising money to build a school for girls in Afghanistan at a time when the world was reeling post-9/11, chaos reigned in the area, and women were grossly under-represented, if allowed to attend school, at all. 

Along with a few other girls in the area, we founded the Western New York Girls' School Coalition for Afghan Women in the early 2000s.  It was our mission to make a change and to help young women we'd never met, have what we had: an education, the power to believe in a future, the courage to make a difference. 

We raised thousands of dollars by hosting "dress down days" in all of the participating schools and we rented out a downtown club and did a ton of planning in order to raise even more money.  We were able to do just that, and before the end of year one, we had built an all-girls school in Afghanistan. 

Today, our coalition is still going strong, and still being run by young women and full-time students.  Clotilde ended up at Harvard and took our ideas to the next level.  It is now a full-fledged organization called "Circle of Women" and you can check out the website here: Circle of Women.

Recently, I came across another amazing example of young people creating educational experiences and opportunities for boys AND girls in Afghanistan:

You should check out their website, too,
which is really amazing and has some great feedback directly from the students:
There are some really amazing people and organizations out there doing incredible things to make the world a brighter, better, more positive, caring, and connected place. 
 Remember, it all starts with a single idea.  


Christine said...

I had no idea you had started something like this! A true testament to the power of a single idea and the passion to follow it through. Bravo ladies!

Meg McGuire said...

I can't take credit for the idea, but it was definitely a meaningful project to work on and it was inspiring to see something actually happen. Sometimes a physical proof of our efforts is so much more rewarding because it's visual. I loved that. They sent us pictures of the first class of girls. They were beautiful and their eyes bright with hope...I'm going to try to find the pictures to post but I think Sacred Heart Academy has my copies.