Junior at Mount Holyoke College Launches Revolutionary Library in Kabul, Afghanistan

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In a new interview with CMRubinWorld, Afghan student Sajia Darwish defies traditional gender roles and offers a tangible sense of hope for change.

Sajia Darwish is only a junior at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, yet she has accomplished more than most do in an entire lifetime. Though her home country is devastated by war, poverty, illiteracy, and extremism, dedication to justice and progress through literacy gave her the courage to overcome innumerable societal obstacles and open Baale Parwaz Library (BPL) this summer in Kabul, Afghanistan.

In a moving interview with CMRubinWorld founder C. M. Rubin, Darwish states that “…being able to read and work in a library and take out books is only a starting point. When students take books home, their families become exposed to the idea of reading for expanding their knowledge, for fun and for entertainment. Families, friends and others who are included become part of a chain of awareness that slowly cracks the wall between people and books.”

Darwish’s accomplishments are significant because of the challenges her gender faces in Afghanistan. The illiteracy rate of women in her home country is 85%. “Women in Afghanistan do not live. Their education, their choice of a life partner, and their everything depends on their fathers’ and brothers’ permissions.”

It’s been long understood that literacy is the foundation from which cultural revolutions are born, and the opening of Darwish’s library is the first step in a multidimensional approach to support a reading culture in her Kabul community. “It is about time for women, no matter if in Afghanistan or the United States, to take control of their lives and value themselves, because if they do not, no one else will,” says Darwish.

Hundreds of students visit the new library in Kabul on a daily basis to read, do school work, or to take out or return a book.

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CMRubinWorld launched in 2010 to explore what kind of education would prepare students to succeed in a rapidly changing globalized world. Its award winning series, The Global Search for Education, is a celebrated trailblazer in the renaissance of the 21st century, and occupies a special place in the pulse of key issues facing every nation and the collective future of all children. It connects today’s top thought leaders with a diverse global audience of parents, students and educators. Its highly readable platform allows for discourse concerning our highest ideals and the sustainable solutions we must engineer to achieve them. C. M. Rubin has produced over 500 interviews and articles discussing an expansive array of topics under a singular vision: when it comes to the world of children, there is always more work to be done.

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