Education: It’s a Gain, Not a Loss

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When you think of Afghanistan, you may think of a broken country, ruined by years of war, but do you think of schools?

When you think of Afghanistan, you may think of a broken country, ruined by years of war, but do you think of schools?
          Elizabeth Suneby has written a book called Razia’s Ray of Hope: One girl’s dream of an Education, the true story of a girl in Afghanistan’s struggle to go school. Razia Jan is today the founder of Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation, an organization dedicated to education for girls and women, and director of a new girl’s school in Afghanistan, and I met them both when they appeared at the Tattered Cover Bookstore.
          Razia Jan was born in Afghanistan and lived there for several years before moving to Massachusetts for her study. She stayed there for 38 years before moving back to Afghanistan. She has a son and a one-year-old granddaughter named Esme.
          In 2008,Razia returned to Afghanistan to improve the lives of girls by starting a girl’s school there. Today, the Zabuli Education Center for Girls has 350 girls reading, writing, adding, and subtracting.
Jan teaches at Zabuli Education Center for Girls. Where her favorite subject is English, because she says, “The more they understand, the better their lives will be.”
Elizabeth Suneby has always like to write better than to talk, so, when she went to a fundraiser for Razia’s foundation, she was inspired to write a book about it. And the book turned out to be a splendid, informal story. In fact, it is her favorite of all her books, she says, because she feels it can truly make a difference.
Razia’s Ray of Hope has really powerful illustrations, a collage of fabrics, photographs, and illustrations meant to be of a desert-like area with pops of color.
This book is a great way to acknowledge education for girls and women and Razia Jan’s bravery. But then again, Razia Jan did say, “If I didn’t do something because I was scared, I’d never do anything at all.”