Back to School...but first, one more look at summer
This summer, Qamar, St. Margaret's '16, was selected to participate in the Pioneer Program which is an independent, entirely online enrichment program that pairs exceptional high school students from around the world with American college and university professors to do undergraduate-Âlevel research. Under the guidance of Professor George Gescheider, Emeritus Professor of Psychology at Hamilton College, Qamar completed a neuroscience research paper entitled Understanding the Sense of Touch.
School is back in session and our students haven't slowed down a bit from a Summer full of biking, teaching, mobilizing and networking. Catch up on the summer below.
From diverse backgrounds, we've added threeNew Students to our ranks - meet Sajia, Nilab and Wali. Our 2015 Retreat brought together 17 of our students for an empowering, enlightening and enjoyable weekend. Noorjahan, AGFAF alumna, recently graduated with her masters from American University.
Mahsheed, Muhlenberg '17, spent her summer promoting and supporting her Book Cottage enterprise. She writes "I heavily worked on Book Cottage. I held many reading sessions that approximately one hundred people attended over all. For a society that is very alien to reading culture, this was a huge number for me. These sessions were the highlight of my summer, since promoting reading is one of my passions." Read more about Book Cottage and how you can help support Mahsheed's and Book Cottage's goals.
This summer Fatima H., Lafayette '19 (second from right) created a girl-only bike riding club in Kabul. With the support of the Girl Up club and Shannon Galpin and Mountain2Mountain, which donated 10 bikes to the club, the girls were empowered to ride through the streets of Kabul with confidence and in freedom. NPR caught up with Fatima for a brief interview - read it here.
Star Students...Two of our students gave back this summer at the Star Educational Society in Kabul, Afghanistan. While Bahara taught English, Zahra was busy helping with the start up of a new high speed computer lab.
In June, with the help of professionals from various corporations and organizations in Afghanistan, AGFAF held its first networking session in Kabul for students back home for the summer. Students exchanged ideas and explored opportunities with representatives of the Afghan Government, NGOs and private sector entrepreneurs.
We are excited to welcome and introduce three new students who are joining AGFAF this year.
From time to time AGFAF has aided male students on a limited basis or with one-time financial needs. This year we are pleased to accept Wali into our program as the first full-time male. Although the primary focus of AGFAF is to aid young Afghan women pursue and finance their education in the United States, we recognize that in order to bring about the necessary social and attitudinal changes within Afghan society that will allow these women to effect change, there is a significant need for Afghan men to be educated.
This year's retreat was held over the weekend of October 9-11 at Drew University and hosted by their Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict. It was an opportunity for AGFAF students, members and volunteers to reconnect on many levels and most importantly, to reconfirm that we are a partnership committed to our mission. It was an empowering and energizing event.
Once again, one of the highlights of the weekend was the Saturday night dinner which brought together friends, family, alumnae and supporters...
A special Thank You to Dr. Jonathan Golden, the CRCC and Drew University for providing the perfect venue for our retreat; Cornelia Schneider, United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations, for her inspiring dinner presentation; Marie Fosket for entertaining us with her beautiful rendition of "Climb Every Mountain", Professor Jessica Lakin, Palwasha Hassan, Najla Ayubi, Najlla Habibyar, Najla Farzana and Abdul Wali Walid for volunteering their time during our workshops; Ryan Dreher, Erica Farber and John Sansevere of the "Raise Your Pen Initiative" for presenting their children's book project to our students, Alex Motiuk and Margaret Prentice for their help with the logistics; and all the AGFAF staff and volunteers who planned and coordinated a very successful weekend.
We were thrilled to hear from Noorjahan (Dickinson '14), "I recently graduated from American University with a masters in Journalism and Public Affairs focusing on international journalism. Shortly after graduation, I was lucky to be given the opportunity to join Women for Women International in their incredible work for the empowerment of women in war-torn countries, including Afghanistan.