In Lieu of Presents – Christmas Charity Gift Giving

[Update] Just finished Stones into Schools. I couldn't put it down once I got started. Fascinating, heart-wrenching and insightful. Afghanistan and Pakistan are complicated places! At least I have a clue now. When I think of what a dollar buys in terms of education over there it sickens me to think a single missile costing upwards of $800,000. On the other hand, I don't want anything to happen to the girls going to those schools. So yes, I want the troops to come home, but not if it means the Taliban (who emerge in the book as a true enemy) can march right back into Afghanistan. It was so encouraging to read about Colonel Christopher Kolenda reaching out to the elders of Afghanistan- building relationship! That seems to be the way things get done over there!

A few years ago our family stopped giving each other hard drives and boots and started donating to charity instead. It was Mom's idea. She just loved to give a goat (Oxfam Canada). I had just read Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson's story about building schools, mostly for girls, in Pakistan and Afghanistan. That book is just so moving. So we donated to the non-profit he has set up to collect funds for more schools.

Greg has a new book, Stones into Schools which I just picked up (purchase from this link donates a percentage of the price to the Central Asia Institute, Greg's non-profit). I'm looking forward to reading it over the Christmas break.   We also chose the Central Asia Institute again this year because I have such a soft spot for educating girls, but also because it makes such a powerful positive impact.

In 2009…
CAI schools total 131
CAI built 29 new schools Afghanistan and
in Pakistan
CAI Students total enrollment is 58,000
CAI now has 36,000 female enrollment
CAI has a total of 17 vocational centers
CAI educated 19 higher education scholarship students.
CAI had teacher training & midwife training workshops
CAI's Greg Mortenson published 3 new bestseller books
CAI's Greg Mortenson spoke at 214 events nationally
CAI's program Pennies for Peace raised 150,000,000 cents
CAI's Pennies for Peace expanded from 280 to
4500 programs in schools, groups & libraries in 20 countries

Greg Mortenson C-Span interview with Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack. (audio) (video)

Direct donation link.