News items about Razia's Ray of Hope and relevant stories about women in Afghanistan.
Razia Jan Honored with Two Awards
On April 21, 2013, Razia Jan received an award at the third annual conference of the American Muslim Women's Empowerment Council (AMWEC) in Los Angeles, CA. The organization presented awards to community members who had worked diligently to promote the vision of AMWEC and others who encouraged outreach and interfaith programs, including Razia. AMWEC works to empower, inform, and educate women with the skills and knowledge to participate politically and socially in their communities, while providing support and guidance to peers.
Razia will also be honored at the Speak For Thyself Award Dinner held at the Duxbury Senior Center in Duxbury, MA, on Friday, May 31, 2013, from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The Speak for Thyself Award honors exceptional women, who, in the spirit of Priscilla Mullins, make their own choices. The award recognizes the role of women in America as Pilgrims, pioneers, advocates, community organizers, politicians, and business leaders, as well as mothers, sisters, wives, and friends. In addition to Razia, this year's award winners are Rita La Pointe of Plympton, Olga Rothschild of Kingston, and Connie Braceland of Waltham.
Bridgewater State University: Patti Quigley named Public Servant of the Year
Our Executive Director, Patti Quigley, was named Public Servant of the Year by Bridgewater State University on May 14, 2013. Patti was honored at the 13th Annual Public Service Recognition Dinner, an event hosted by the faculty ofPolitical Science Department in celebration of National Public Service Recognition Week. We're deeply grateful for this recognition of Patti's work!
BlogHer: CNN Hero Finalist Razia Jan Started School for Girls in Afghanistan
October 31, 2012
Although it was a Sunday evening in Afghanistan thousands of miles away, I could hear Razia Jan begin to softly cry over the phone from Kabul. “It is so difficult to have something good happening here because there are so many bad things,” said Jan. “And so you can’t really celebrate. There’s a lot of killing of innocent people.”
I had just asked Jan how she felt when she heard she’d been named a finalist for CNN's Hero of the Year. It still seemed unbelievable to her. And no wonder. In 2006, after living 35 years in the United States, Jan returned to her native Afghanistan with a seemingly impossible idea: to open a free private school for girls. Then the Taliban was launching horrific attacks on girls and schools throughout the country.
But Jan, who fled Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion in 1979 and built a successful tailoring business in Duxbury, Massachusetts, wasn't about to let a little thing like the Taliban get in her way. Using her contacts, she approached the Ministry of Education and convinced them to donate a piece of land for the school. Read the full article here.
Omaha World-Herald: Central High Considers Partnership with All-Girls School in Kabul
October 11, 2012
“I'm trying to put that seed in their mind that they are human beings,” Jan told about 65 students and teachers at Omaha Central High. “Education is the only way.” Jan was in Omaha to talk with the Central students and teachers about a potential partnership. The Omaha Suburban Rotary Club helped bring her to Omaha because the club plans to help sponsor 55 girls at the school, said member Ed Walsh. Read the full article here.
CNN: Razia Jan Named Top 10 Hero for 2012
September 20, 2012
CNN announced today the Top 10 CNN Heroes of 2012, individuals who are making extraordinary contributions to improve the lives of others. Razia's Ray of Hope Founder, Razia Jan, was among those top 10.
Each Top 10 CNN Hero will receive a $50,000 grant to further their work, and one will be named “CNN Hero of the Year” during the live CNN broadcast on Sunday, Dec. 2.
Online voting for “CNN Hero of the Year” runs through Wednesday, November 28, at Midnight PT. Voters can click here to cast ballots for their favorite Top 10 Heroes up to 10 times a day, every day. Votes can also be shared on Facebook and Twitter. The Hero with the most votes will be named “CNN Hero of the Year,” and receive an additional $250,000 grant.
Hosted by Anderson Cooper from the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, the Peabody Award-winning, Emmy-nominated broadcast CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute will air live on Sunday, December 2, 2012 at 9pm ET/6pm PT on CNN.
This year, a new dimension will be added to the prize package for the 2012 Top 10 CNN Heroes. The Annenberg Foundation, a leading supporter of nonprofits worldwide, will help selected CNN Heroes further their work by providing free training with a customized version of the Annenberg Alchemy program, which provides practical guidance for nonprofit leaders in fundraising, communications, management of volunteers, and strategies to build and keep a strong board of directors.
Now in its sixth year, the CNN Heroes initiative has received more than 45,000 nominations from more than 100 countries and profiled over 180 everyday heroes doing extraordinary work. Please vote for Razia here.
CNN: Razia Jan, Hero
August 3, 2012
CNN announced today that Razia Jan has been named a 2012 CNN Hero for her work in building a school for girls in Afghanistan and for her passion and triumph in committing her life to create a bond between Afghanistan and America.CNN Heroes is a year-long initiative that honors everyday people like Razia for their selfless, creative efforts to help others. Click the image at right to watch the CNN video clip on Razia.
Duxbury Clipper: Razia Jan, the Mother of Deh'Subz (Parts 1 and 2)
July 25, 2012 & August 8, 2012
For two days Razia Jan anticipated the meeting she arranged with the men she calls the Village Elders. The group -- fathers, grandfathers, other senior male family members of students at the Zabuli School for Girls and Women – meet with Razia several times a year, but this time would be different. She had to tell them an American journalist was coming to do a story on the school and she wasn’t sure how they would react. Read the full article (in two parts) here.
Duxbury Clipper: An Afghan Girls' School
July 11, 2012
Sometime around dawn in Deh’Subz (pronounced Da Subs), Afghanistan the pupils from the Zabuli Girls’ School complete their morning chores, don their black and green school uniforms, and walk from their homes along the dirt and sometimes paved roads that lead to Zabuli School....“I feel delighted, overwhelmed,” said Razia of her mornings shepherding the girls into the school she built for them. “I can’t believe my eyes that these girls are walking freely towards the school.” Read the full article here.
A Midsummer Night's Dream:
Benefit Fashion Show, Kabul
July 6, 2012
On a dreamy summer evening in Kabul, supporters of Razia's Ray of Hope enjoyed a special evening in support of the Zabuli Education Center. Enjoy a photo album of this event here.
Benefit Fashion Show at Art Complex, Duxbury, MA
March 29, 2012
The Rotary Club of Duxbury held a well-attended fashion show benefitting the Zabuli Education Center. The jackets were made by Razia. Enjoy an online album of photographs by Denise A. Maccaferri here.
Pine Straw: Store Party
March 22, 2012
In a memorable evening at the Pine Straw store in Wellesley, MA, attendees enjoyed amazing fashions and Afghan cuisine. Tracy Cranley, owner of Pine Straw, donated 15% of store sales from this special event to benefit the Zabuli Education Center.
Milton Academy News:
Margo Johnson Speaker Founded School for Girls in Kabul
Razia Jan, founder of the Zabuli Education Center in Kabul, Afghanistan, spoke to students about her improbable achievement: under difficult political, economic and cultural conditions, opening a K–8 school for girls. Mrs. Jan was this year’s Margaret A. Johnson Speaker, a series that brings noted female leaders to campus each year. “At the beginning, building a girls’ school in Afghanistan seemed as difficult for me as going to the moon,” said Mrs. Jan. “I am just one person, but I thought it was important to do something.” Read the full article here.
The National: Afghan Women's Activist Razia Jan
Points the Way for Girls
March 10, 2012
After she spent more than three decades in the US, Jan's return to her homeland, beginning with exploratory trips in 2002, has revived her love for Afghanistan. There is nothing she won't do now for her country-women, from setting up a girls' school to helping widows find purpose and economic stability in their lives, to designing and manufacturing dresses for a denuded fashion industry. Read the full article here.
BBC: A Ray of Hope Brunch, Bazaar, and Fashion Show
January 27, 2012
Our fundraiser in Kabul, "Ray of Hope Brunch, Bazaar and Fashion Show" was a success, raising a substantial sum to help educate the students of the Zabuli Education Center. Access the full BBC article (in Persian) here.
Boston Globe: Bringing Light to Afghan Girls
October 23, 2011
Mention Razia Jan’s name in Duxbury and you’ll be greeted with smiles. For years, Jan owned a dry cleaning and seamstress shop in town, where she could turn out the most intricate designs. In the days following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, she made fleece blankets with the American flag pattern. She then organized town residents and school children to buy and cut fabric for hundreds of blankets, which she sewed and distributed to fire houses and other first responders at the World Trade Center in New York.
She also made two enormous quilts, each bearing an imprinted photo and short biography for every person killed in the attacks on the Pentagon: 125 in the building, 59 on American Airlines Flight 77. She presented the quilts at the rebuilt Pentagon chapel. Read the full article here.
New England Cable News (NECN): 9/11 Widow Helps Afghan Widows
September 5, 2011
Oxfam: High Stakes: Girls' Education in Afghanistan (Joint Briefing Paper)
August 8, 2011
"Millions of girls have entered school in Afghanistan, since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. It is one of the few good news stories of the last nine years. However, the deteriorating security situation and the international community’s focus on stabilization and counter-insurgency rather than on long-term development means this good news story is in danger of turning bad. A new approach from both the Afghan government and donors is urgently required to hold onto the gains that have been made." Paper published on February 24, 2011. Access the full paper here.
Reuters: In high heels, head scarves, Afghan women protest harassment
July 14, 2011
In high heels and head scarves, a small band of Afghan women took to the streets of the country's capital, Kabul, on Thursday to protest harassment by men in public places. Carrying signs, that read "This street also belongs to me" and "We won't stand insults anymore" the 20 or so women — and some men marching in solidarity — protested being abused, groped and followed on the city's streets. Read the full article here.
Matching Grant Award Funds Purchase of Computers for Zabuli Education Center
May 26, 2011
Razia’s Ray of Hope has been awarded a matching grant from the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International and other Rotary Clubs, including the Rotary Club of Duxbury. This funding will enable the purchase of computers for the Zabuli Education Center, which will have a huge impact on the school’s resources and outcomes.
Wicked Local Duxbury: Razia Jan receives inaugural award for her efforts through Razia's Ray of Hope Foundation
March 11, 2011
When Razia Jan returns to town, she returns to a community she describes as the backbone of her efforts to build the Zabuli Education Center for Women and Girls, the mission of which is to educate young women in her home country of Afghanistan.
It’s a return that becomes very emotional and brings tears of joy to her eyes. At the Duxbury Senior Center Sunday, during a reception sponsored by the Duxbury Rotary Club, she looks back on the evolution of her efforts to help the people of Afghanistan.
“It’s a journey, and we are in the middle,” she said. “I am so proud the last three years to have the school going.” Read the full article here.
Concord Patch: Afghan School for Girls Gets Huge Boost
March 7, 2011
The Zabuli Education Center for Women and Girls got a tremendous shot in the arm after Saturday night's Concord fundraiser. School founder Razia Jan spoke passionately about the school that is educating girls from kindergarten through grade seven at the home of Kristen and Jim Canty. Approximately $60,000 was donated to Razia's Ray of Hope Foundation that oversees the school. Read the full article here.
The Guardian: Taliban ready to lift ban on girls' schools, says minister
January 13, 2011
The Taliban's leadership is prepared to drop its ban on girls' schools, one of Afghanistan's most influential cabinet ministers has claimed.
According to Farooq Wardak, the country's education minister, the movement has decided to scrap the ban on female education that helped earn the movement worldwide infamy in the 1990s. Wardak said the Taliban's leadership had undergone a profound change since losing power after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
"It is attitudinal change, it is behavioural change, it is cultural change," he told the Times Educational Supplement. "What I am hearing at the very upper policy level of the Taliban is that they are no more opposing education and also girls' education." Read the full article here.
Duxbury Clipper: Girl Power, Afghan Style
October 13, 2010
“The main function room at the Senior Center was lined with photographs from the Zabuli School for Girls as Razia Jan returned to Duxbury to update residents and donors on the school’s progress. The smiling faces of the young women were reminders of the good Duxbury natives have done for students halfway around the world." Read the full article here.
Wellesley Townsman: Wellesley resident Patti Quigley helping to raise funds to educate girls in Afghanistan
October 7, 2010
“More than 6,700 miles from Ground Zero, a group of more than 200 school girls can trace the promise of their educations directly back to the events of 9/11, a Duxbury businesswoman, and a Wellesley resident. 'I wanted to make some sense of all the madness that is happening,' said Afghanistan-born Razia Jan. In 2008, with the help of Wellesley resident Patti Quigley and others, she founded an all girls’ school in Deh Sabz, a city near Kabul." Read the full article here.
Digital Video and Imagery Distribution System (DVIDS), US Military: Arzu Studio Hope Seek to Improve Quality of Life for Afghan Women
June 9, 2010
Razia Jan, who also serves as Program Director in Afghanistan for Arzu Studio Hope, visited Helmand province June 8-12, 2010, to survey search for "potential locations to expand operations like the women's center in Bamyan, Afghanistan. The women's center employs women weavers to create high-end woven rugs. To work for Arzu, women sign a contract agreeing to send all of their children to school until age 15 and take literacy classes themselves. Also, pregnant women and mothers of newborns are to accept transportation to medical care." The full article is available here. You can also see photos at DVIDS.
McClatchy Newspapers: Despite reports of progress, reality for Afghan women is grim
April 12, 2010
“Women not only continue to lack access to healthcare and education, but they also lack legal protections. They continue to confront pervasive violence and early marriages. After nine years and $300 billion, U.S. reconstruction efforts have largely bypassed women and girls." Read the full article here.
UNICEF: Regional Director highlights challenges for girls in visit to Afghanistan
March 23, 2010
“UNICEF is working to increase the numbers of girls in school by supporting the training of female teachers and setting up child-friendly classrooms. [UNICEF Regional Director] Toole visited female students at Herat Girls High School to see such efforts firsthand." Read the full article here.
Duxbury Clipper: Girls' School in Afghanistan Still Flourishing
March 10, 2010
"You might think your commute is tough, but Razia Jan’s is much worse. She wears two hats, as the head of the Zabuli School for Girls in Deh Subz, Afghanistan and as the program director for the Arzu Foundation, a non-profit that works with women rug weavers known as the Hazara. It can sometimes take her 14 hours to get from one place to the other, across dangerous mountain roads in a fragile part of the world." Read the full article here.
US Department of State: Afghan Women and Girls: Building the Future of Afghanistan
February 23, 2010
Melanne Verveer, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues: "I am honored to appear before you today to describe why women and girls are among the most powerful — but still largely underutilized — agents for change to advance security, stability, and development in Afghanistan." Read the full written testimony here.
USA Today: #1 Killer in Afghanistan is Poverty
January 12, 2010
Khaled Hosseini: "When people have a roof over their head, food on the table and a school to send their children to, they are not as vulnerable to exploitation by extremist groups. Young Afghans deserve a better option than becoming fighters, and it would serve us well to give it to them." Read the full op-ed piece here.
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