Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation has been shaped by the spirit and vision of Razia Jan. Founder of the Zabuli Education Center, Razia has worked for many years to forge connections between Afghans and Americans.
She began by rallying her adopted New England community to send over 400 homemade blankets to rescue workers at Ground Zero after September 11, 2001. Her efforts expanded to include sending care packages to US troops in Afghanistan. Through her involvement in the military’s Operation Shoe Fly, she coordinated the delivery of over 30,000 pairs of shoes to needy Afghan children. Her handmade quilts commemorating September 11 have been exhibited at Madison Square Garden, the chapel at the Pentagon, and at fire stations in New York and Massachusetts.
Born in Afghanistan, Razia moved to the United States in 1970. The proprietor of a small tailoring business in Duxbury, Massachusetts, for 20 years, she served as president of the town’s Rotary Club. A member of the Interfaith Council and No Place for Hate, and a member of the Board of Directors at Jordan Hospital, Razia has received many awards for her humanitarian work, including the 2007 Woman of Excellence award from Germaine Lawrence Inc., multiple Rotary Club International Peace Awards, and certificates of appreciation from the Army Corps of Engineers and the American Legion. She has spoken on women and children’s issues at many venues in New York, Massachusetts, Washington, DC, and Afghanistan.
In October 2008, Razia moved back to Kabul, where she is developing and managing aid projects for Afghan rug weavers and their families as the Country Program Director for the Chicago-based nonprofit Arzu Inc., in addition to her work with Razia’s Ray of Hope.
In 2012, Razia was named a CNN Top 10 Hero. She is grateful for the outpouring of support that this honor has brought to the foundation.
“My commitment to Razia’s Ray of Hope comes from Razia Jan’s inspiration. Her selfless dedication to the cause of empowering young women of Afghanistan through education is the reason I have put my energies and my own passion behind Razia and her good works. Razia serves as an example to all of us of how one person can make a huge difference in the lives of many.”
— Ann S. Murphy, Board Member, Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation