Earlier this year, we wrote about the urgent need to replace the Dasht School, a rural school in the Rushan district of Tajikistan whose Soviet-era walls were crumbling from years of harsh weather and a terrible earthquake that made it unsafe for students. Pennies for Peace (P4P), CAI’s service-learning program for students, teachers and community groups, has taken on this project with the goal of raising funds for a new school for the 60 children determined to get an education no matter where they have to learn.
When P4P program manager Alanna Brown heard the urgent request for a new school, she knew it would be an exciting project for participants to rally behind. Every penny collected during P4P programs from now until the end of the year will go to fund the Dasht School. This is a huge ask, but students, teachers, and community groups around the world are working hard to gather pennies while learning about the area and people they are helping.
Once the funding goal was in place, Mahbuba Qurbonalieva director of CAI-Tajikistan collaborated with the local community to draw up blueprints for a new school with four modern classrooms and new technology that will make it safer in the event of another earthquake.
Once the blueprints received approval, Mahbubah travelled from Khorog where CAI-Tajikistan’s office is based, over dangerous mountain passes to get the appropriate documents signed in Rushan district where the school will be built. After a few weeks of waiting, the signed documents arrived with the full go-ahead to build the school. The next step is to hire qualified contractors so they can break ground this spring.
The P4P community has jumped to the rescue to help the students of Dasht move from an unsafe and cramped building into a new, safe place to learn, but we still have a long way to reach the $40,000 goal.
We’ve already had gifts totaling $39,465, more than half of the necessary funds. There are still Pennies for Peace penny drives going on right now, and we know all of these participants are working hard to collect as many pennies as possible to achieve this goal.
These participants aren’t just in schools, they are also part of book clubs, churches, and other community organizations. Every person can have an impact, no matter how small. It’s easy to underestimate the value of a penny, but in places like Tajikistan, a penny means hope and the potential for a future full of opportunities.
Anyone can start a Pennies for Peace penny collection and use the free curriculum. It’s a fantastic way to teach young children they can make a big impact, gather a community together for a meaningful cause, or participate in a service project. If you want to help the children in Dasht start the next year in a new school, visit the Pennies for Peace website to start a penny collection or donate to the school now by clicking here.
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