Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Stones into Schools

by Greg Mortenson

Determined to find a non-fiction on humanitarian projects, I was delighted to find this title at the Changi airport on the way to Hong Kong for a short break. I had needed some inspiration for an upcoming exam that involved presenting a social service organisation.

Mortenson's drive and determination to set up schools in remote villages in Pakistan is beyond noble. Even reading about his arduous inland travels on dirt roads has a nauseating effect on me. His cultural competency is imperative, admirable and worth emulating.

I didn't finish the book only because I wanted inspiration and not full facts on the negotiation and development process for each school project. And I was inspired whatever critics may say of Mortenson's authenticity.  For those looking for a how-to guide on exploiting educational opportunities for girls in Pakistan or other impoverished countries, this should be an indispensable read.

The dedication page of the book aptly says 'To the noble people of Afghanistan and Pakistan and to the 120 million school-age children in the world who are deprived of their right of education.'  According to the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Report 2010, education remains out of reach for girls in impoverished nations.

Khaled Hosseini [author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns] included this wise African proverb in his Foreword, 'If you educate a boy, you educate an individual, but if you educate a girl, you educate a community.'

Where you can get it: S$22.47 Times
Level of impact: Good insightful descriptions of cultural inroads to Pakistan.
Timing of book: Impeccable.