Last Friday night, my Student Ambassador group hosted an event in support of education for women in Afghanistan at the World Affairs Council. From 5:oo -7:oo PM, people managed to eat, mingle as well educate themselves on the importance of educating women in Afghanistan. Approximately 60 people came to hear what our evening’s speaker, Budd Mackenzie, had to say about the issue. Mr. Mackenzie was a very charismatic speaker and as one audience member described, “brought a personable touch” to the topic.
Mr. Mackenzie is the founder of Trust in Education, which dedicates itself to educating children in Afghanistan as well as providing economic and health care assistance to villages. Trust in Education is a U.S. based grassroots organization that focuses its employment in Afghanistan; employing only one person in the U.S., Trust in Education is able to direct almost all of its funds directly to the Afghan people. This close connection allows the organization to work to empower local women to educate themselves and in turn educate their community. Trust in Education focuses on empowering these women take control of education in their community, instead of outsiders telling them what to do. This makes the local population invested in the education of their community and allows for a sustainable organization.
As girls are often denied education due to traditional values of gender separation, women play a vital role in educating the next generation of Afghan women. This is why, although seeking to provide education to everyone, the organization focuses mostly on the education of women. Mr. MacKenzie corroborated this fact and the importance of educating women in this troubled country through his numerous personal interactions with Afghans. He noted that women have been found to be one of the greatest economic investments there.
The turn out for the event was great and the total money raised, over $800, was beyond our expectations. Being a group of young women, our student ambassador group felt very impassioned about the issue and inspired about contributing to the fight for gender equality. Overall the group had a great learning experience not only about the issue but also about ourselves and Trust in Education.
By Sofia Vala, Student Ambassador, Waldorf High School
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