January 22, 2018

Lessons from Pakistan to U.S. Troops in Afghanistan

ClassroomGreg Mortenson's been building schools for girls in Pakistan for over 17 years and founded the Central Asia Institute CAI in 1996 after living in Pakistan for three years and seeing the difficulties facing girls who had no chance at good education.

145 schools have been built and 64,000 students have improved their education standards from haphazard lessons in outdoor classrooms with dirt and stick chalkboards into real schools with qualified teachers.

For CAI students, snow and sleet won't deter them but heat, night, rugged mountains, roadside bombs, occupying troops and insurgents might.

The unparalleled success is attributed to the locals in each of the 145 communities that support a school. Projects anywhere can only be successful this way says Mortenson.

The only way to discover locals' ideas and help them manage a project is to sit down and have a cup of tea (or three) and listen which is the title of Mortenson's first book "Three cups of Tea".

Three cups of Tea as well as Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs in Afghanistan and Pakistan has become a field guide for troops' counterinsurgency efforts.  Throughout war torn areas and rugged terrain from Afghanistan and Pakistan girls are still denied educations.

Mortenson and CAI will keep climbing towards the elusive peak this is education and empowerment for all.