I am reading Greg Mortenson’s incredibly inspiring new book Stones Into Schools . In his latest, the author of Three Cups of Tea talks about his most ambitious project – building schools in the secluded Northeast corner of Afghanistan. In the forward, Khaled Hosseini writes that Greg “has spearheaded efforts to educate girls and young women. Not an easy task in a region where parents routinely keep their daughters our of school and where long-standing cultural traditions have deprived women of the right to education. But in village after village, Greg has reached out to tribal leaders and elders to help convince parents to send the girls to school. This is be because Greg believes, as I do, that if Afghanistan has any chance to become a more prosperous nation, it will require the full engagement of its women as part of the process…As he says repeatedly, mantra-like, ‘if you educate a boy, you educate an individual, but if you educate a girl, you educate a community.”
Greg’s amazing tale clearly illustrates his passion and dedication to the cause, the necessity of working with and listening to the local population, and the pitfalls of well-meaning charitable organizations that fail to understand and appreciate the local cultures they are trying to help.