About the Author: Anna Mussman serves in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs' Youth Programs Division.
Students in Jalalabad involved with the Department of State's Global Connections and Exchange (GCE) program were recently offered $150 to create and implement a small project to benefit their communities. This small grant project was facilitated by the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club Foundation, a Department of State grantee organization which implements GCE in Jalalabad. Nagina Shafiqi and her team at the Bi Bi Aisha Girls High School were the first to complete their project. Nagina wrote that the girls decided to tackle the lack of drinking water at their school: "We spent all day without drinking water in school, although some students brought drinking water from their houses, but when they reached school, the water bottle was too hot, so we thought that we have to solve this problem for the coming summer."
When their application was accepted, a group of male students helped the girls negotiate costs at the market and talked with masons to get the most reasonable prices. The girls and the school community watched the laborers build the water tank brick by brick and in just two weeks they were able to fill the tank with water. Nagina described the project on the GCE website and received more than 150 responses!
Sami Misbah wrote, "Congratulations to all Bi Bi Aisha high school students. Today we start with our schools, and then we will remake our country, Inshallah." Mahreen Salih added that through the project, "Women, especially young girls, showed their talent and how they are a success in society."
When asked how she felt when the project was completed, Nagina wrote, "When I and my team discussed and searched and started the work till when it got finished, by the Grace of Allah, we knew that although we are females, we can do everything if we dare... I now know that I am able to do such more work as this project and it will be my pleasure to serve my society and county's people so I advise to all people to be active and serve their country and struggle hard for reconstruction."
Read more about the GCE program in Afghanistan here.
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