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Afghanistan, a landlocked central Asian country was used for centuries as as a major trading artery and has long resisted foreign invasion and domination. Formal education, established by the monarchy during the end of the first quarter of the 20th century, has had stops and starts as various ruling factions elbowed their way to power. With the bloody Afghan civil war beginning in 1989 and then the advent of the Taliban in 1996, the education system ground to a halt. Today, nearly 80% of Afghan women and 60% of Afghan men are illiterate.

 

In April, 2006 Wendy Summer traveled to Afghanistan to help women entrepreneurs build their nascent businesses. During that trip, she decided to start ZAANHA, (which means women in the Dari Language,) whose mission became sending illiterate Afghan working street boys and girls to school. ZAANHA’s programs are funded by the sales of beautiful scarves and shawls made primarily by master craftspeople in Nepal and India.

 

Wendy’s stories and insights present a different picture than what one usually hears about this troubled land and will give you reasons to care.

 

Meets in Wardell Room