|Razia Jan, founder of Zabuli Education Center (CNN ())
Razia Jan, founder of the Zabuli Education Center, says while her life in America was fulfilling and rich, her dream was "to do something for Afghanistan and educate the girls." Razia provides a free education to 34 area girls in a two story, 14 room building in Deh' Subz, Afghanistan and is a true example of a hero! Although she has many everyday ordeals, she is not afraid of them and continues to do exemplary work to help girls.
Razia Jan, 68, was born in the 1940's in Afghanistan. She traveled to the United States to attend college in 1970. Much of her family fled Afghanistan or were killed during the Russian Invasion. She became an American citizen in 1990. Razia opened a tailoring business and raised a son, but was always involved in philanthropic efforts in Duxbury, Massachusetts. Razia was personally affected by September 11. She turned her store into a workshop and launched a campaign to help victims, first responders, U.S. soldiers, and Afghan children. Razia and volunteers shipped care packages to U.S. soldiers and more than 30,000 boxes of shoes for soldiers to give to Afghan children. But, on a visit to her homeland in 2002, Razia realized that the women and girls were still suffering from years of Taliban control. Razia still had a dream to educate the girls and it became even clearer when she saw that the women had no rights or a say in anything.
In 2005, Razia began raising funds through her Massachusetts-based nonprofit, Razia's Ray of Hope. When she visited Afghanistan, Razia was able to negotiate with the Ministry of Education to secure land for her school. At first when the Zabuli Education Center first opened, most of the men discouraged the ideas of girls going to school. But now, Razia says that the men are proud of the girls.
Razia Jan is a hero because while every day is a struggle, she continues to share her passion for learning with the girls of her school and doesn't stop even if she is threatened. Everyday, security guards have to check the doors and windows and test the water to make sure it is not poisonous. Razia has gotten threats and a school on the other side of town has even experienced grenades thrown at them. These challenges do not make Razia back down. In fact, they just encourage her even more to continue her dream of providing an education for girls.
Razia is both a hero and a role model because she provides a free education to girls in Afghanistan. The Zabuli Education Center teaches math, science, religion and three languages: English, Farsi and Pashto. At first, the girls couldn't write their names but now they can all read and write. A hero isn't just superhuman or a philanthropist everyone knows about. Heroes are regular people, just like you and me who are choosing to devote their lives to the well being of others. Razia is an example of an ordinary woman doing extraordinary things.
Razia's Ray of Hope
- is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of women and children in Afghanistan through community-based education.