“Girls are one of the most powerful forces for change in the world: When their rights are recognized, their needs are met, and their voices are heard, they drive positive change in their families, their communities, and the world,” said Kathy Calvin, President & CEO of the United Nations Foundation. While we are working on closing the gender gap in the workplace, there are millions of girls fighting for their rights to go to school in many other countries; Afghanistan is one of them. Girls are being threatened and schools are being attacked. Fortunately, there are organizations like the Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation which are helping girls with access to education.
Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation was founded by Razia Jan, recipient of CNN’s 2012 Top Ten Hero award. The foundation built the only private, free K-12 girls’ school and the first free women’s post-secondary vocational school in Afghanistan. Here in Seattle, Maxime Johnstone and her grade-school friends have helped the foundation raise almost $180,000. They had the idea of creating sustainable economic opportunities for the girls and mothers in Afghanistan by helping them export hand-made apparel and accessories to the U.S.
Amber Jiang, a recent Foster marketing, supply chain and international business graduate, has a strong passion for Corporate Social Responsibility and non-governmental organizations. Last spring, Amber was introduced to Maxime and helped the girls turn their ideas into a business proposal. She guided them through a presentation at the corporate headquarters of a major public toy manufacturer. Says Amber, “The journey towards equality never ends. In time, people realize fighting for our own rights is not enough; we need to care about what’s going on in the rest of the world. What if we were the ones who couldn’t attend school?”