As many of you know, internationally celebrated humanitarian – Razia Jan – was recently in Omaha to speak at a meeting of our Omaha Suburban Club that was open to Rotarians throughout the District, and to address students at Central High School. She also spent quality time with the Director of the Center for Afghan Studies at the University of Nebraska and staff here in Omaha, where she offered an update on conditions on the ground in Afghanistan as well as suggestions regarding what may be the best pathways going forward regarding the education of Afghan girls.
It was a grueling day for Razia who had been on the road promoting the interests of her students for the better part of a month. However, by any measure it was an extraordinary day filled with gripping accounts of the reality facing the girls and women studying at both of her highly acclaimed schools, the Education Center for Girls (K-12) and the Razia Jan Institute, the first rural post-secondary vocational school in the country. The day was also filled with no holds barred conversations centered on the challenges she and her students must come to grips with in the immediate future.
 
For those in our District who may not have had the opportunity to follow and work with Razia as she blazed an educational path through the very heart of patriarchal Afghanistan, please spend a few minutes browsing her Foundation website, Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation (https://raziasrayofhope.org/). It is illuminating and it is inspirational.
 
Razia was here for two reasons. One was to break bread with the many Rotarians in District 5650 she has grown to recognize as friends, and who have returned the feeling with contagious enthusiasm, welcoming her and her mission with warmth and a spirit of community. She was also here to remind us that she could not have accomplished all that she has alone. Her message on this one of numerous trips to District 5650 was more desperate than those we are accustomed to hearing when working with Razia. The reality facing Afghan girls and women is undeniably disheartening and the need for support, both financial and moral, is greater than ever.
 
It is this spirit that I write to ask you to consider supporting Razia’s mission by making a donation today at: https://raziasrayofhope.org/make-an-impact/donate/.
 
We all know that Razia is universally recognized as a bona fide superstar on the international stage of human rights. As Rotarians, let me ask that we roll up our collective shirt sleeves and get to work doing what we always do in times of great need, help Razia continue to MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE LIVES OF AFGHAN GIRLS AND WOMEN IN CRISIS.
 
Contact: Ed Walsh