Have you ever wanted to make a difference in the world, but thought to yourself, "I'm only one person"? I had the opportunity to hear one man speak who is making a huge difference in an area of the world that figures prominently in current events. His name is Greg Mortenson and he is the author of "The Cups of Tea"
and the director of the Central Asia Institute.
His story came out of failure. He was attempting to climb K2 in the Himalayas, the world's second highest mountain, as a tribute to his late sister, but he became ill and wandereed into a village sick, stinking from not bathing in almost 3 months and disappointed. He was nused back to health and wanted to show his thanks in a practical way. His meentor and host in the village Haji Ali told him that what they needed was a school for their children who currently studies in the open often writing their lessons in the dirt. He came back to the US determined to fufill his promise. His book "Three Cups of Tea" describes his efforts and his eventual success in building a school.
Since then, his organization has grown and has built 64 schools in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan. They have provided scholarships for higher education, paid teachers salaries, done public health projects and extablished women's centers where women can learn vocational skills and help support their families.
Why Pakistan and Afghanistan? In these areas educational opportinuties are often limited and even more limited for girl. By establishing education, especially for girls, you provide long term stability for the region. As literacy increases, infant mortality decreases, family size decreases, poverty decreases and Hope increases. By battling poverty and ignorance one student at a time, Greg Mortenson is bringing hope and prosperity to some of the world's poorest people.
Greg likes to quote an African proverb that says "If you educate a boy, you educate an individual. If you educate a girl, you educate a community". I would encourage everyone to read his book and support his remarkable vision for peace through education.