Girls With Books: Can We Fight Terrorism Without Waging a War?

You may have heard the story of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai who was shot in the head while coming home from school last week. Malala is a young activist who has promoted children’s rights in Pakistan; she has become a symbol of defiance against the Taliban regime. In the words of UN president Ban Ki-moon, “the terrorists showed what frightens them most: a girl with a book.”

As the presidential candidates debate how to end our 11-year war in Afghanistan, how can we read Malala’s story and not simply sink into despair?
Gandhi famously said, “whenever you are confronted with an opponent, conquer him with love.”
We know of some inspiring people who have been driven by this same principle since September 11, 2001. As family and friends of Americans who were killed in the 9/11 attacks, the founders of the Safer World Fund on GlobalGiving made a bold choice: They would fight terrorism through giving. The small group of friends pooled their money to support projects that promote education, healthcare, and economic opportunity in Central Asia. Rather than respond to 9/11 with anger, they chose to honor their loved ones by supporting the most vulnerable people in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
“We wanted to honor the memory of our friends in some way,” explained Joyce, one of the founders of the Safer World Fund. “Not only was it in our country’s best interest to help the people of Afghanistan, we felt a moral obligation to do so. We wanted to demonstrate to people of all faiths and nations that Americans are compassionate and caring people.”
The education and health projects supported by the Safer World Fund are all run by organizations working to combat the poverty that can lead young people to extremism. They primarily target girls and women, because Joyce and the other founders are convinced that, “educated, healthy mothers are more likely to raise sons who will build rather than destroy.”
Right now, these families, friends, and 9/11 survivors will actually match your donations to Safer World projects at 50 percent: They’ll turn your $100 donation into $150 for vulnerable women or girls. You can choose from 10 projects, so whether you want to support secondary education for 30 girls in Pakistan by providing transportation, school uniforms, supplies, and book bags, or prefer to save mothers’ lives in Afghanistan by educating a midwife, you can make an incredible difference.
You may very well change the world for a girl like Riffat, who told us, “the first day at school when I rejoined was the best and the happiest day of my life.”
The GOOD community is built by people who want to change the world. Many of you wake up every morning and work to improve your communities by speaking out against injustices and inequalities. We believe that little girls have a big voice too, and with your support, they have even bigger potential.
The people behind the Safer World Fund aim to create a world where Malala would be free to inspire and encourage others. We invite you to join them in creating a safer, more compassionate world for everyone. Get your donation matched today.
Photo courtesy of GlobalGiving and Anyi Educational International \n
AFP News Agency / Twitter

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