Stones into Schools
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Over the past sixteen years, Greg Mortenson, through his nonprofit Central Asia Institute (CAI), has worked to promote peace through education by establishing more than 130 schools, most of them for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The story of how this remarkable humanitarian campaign began was told in his bestselling 2006 book, Three Cups of Tea. Mortenson’s Philosophies about building relationships, empowering communities, and educating girls have struck a powerful chord. Hundreds of communities and universities, as well as several branches of the U.S. military, have used Three Cups of Tea as a common read.
Just as Three Cups of Tea began with a promise – to build a school in Korphe, Pakistan – so too does Mortenson’s new book. In 1999, Kirghiz horsemen from Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor rode into Pakistan and secured a promise from Mortenson to construct a school in an isolated pocket of the Pamir Mountains known as Bozai Gumbaz. Mortenson could not build that school before constructing many others, and that is the story he tells in this dramatic new book. Picking up where Three Cups of Tea left off in late 2003, Stone into Schools traces the CAI’s efforts to work in a whole new country, the secluded northeast corner of Afghanistan. Mortenson describes how he and his intrepid manager, Sarfraz Khan, barnstormed around Badakshan Province and the Wakhan Corridor, moving for weeks without sleep, to establish the first schools there. Those efforts were diverted in October 2005 when a devastating earthquake hit the Azad Kashmir region of Pakistan. Under Sarfraz’s watch CAI helped with the relief efforts by setting up temporary tent schools and eventually several earthquakeproof schools. The action even returns to Afghanistan in 2007, as the CAI launches schools in the heart of the Taliban country and as Mortenson helps the U.S. military formulate new strategic plans in the region. Stones into Schools brings to life both the heroic efforts of the CAI’s fixers on the ground – renegade men unrecognized and untapped talent who became galvanized by the importance of girls’ education – and the triumphs of the young women who are now graduating from the schools. Their stories are ones you will soon not forget.
There has been some speculation on some of the details written in this book however, no solid evidence has come forth to prove that anything written in this book was untrue.