The Power Couple of Jagir Basin

For Maria Bono and her husband Raja Naveed, the endearing “power couple” label applied by their community is one they can wear confidently. Together, they have dedicated themselves to creating lasting change in their rural community. Maria worked in a government job, and Raja spent years teaching at urban, private schools. But they couldn’t shake the feeling that they had a greater calling waiting. Together, the couple decided to relocate back to the rural, mountainous terrain of Gilgit Baltistan.

Outdoor classroom

“This community is one of the most underprivileged communities in Gilgit Baltistan and they deserve their right to education. The community has migrated from other parts of the region and settled here to feed their families,” Raja shares.

Maria adds, “These children are active learners and whatever we teach, they pick quickly.”

For the 145 students that attend the school where Maria and Raja teach, the school day is an opportunity to focus on their growth, and their social connections, and to enjoy being children. Outside of school hours, many of the children help to tend cattle with their families. Before they found a permanent structure, classes took place in open fields, with cattle tied up nearby.

Maria and Raja have worked hard to make sure families are included in their children’s education. They are welcome in the school building and regularly participate in parent-teacher conferences and school council meetings. Maria says, “We believe that we can bring about long-lasting change only if the parents, community, and teachers are involved in the progress of these students equally.”

With your help, teachers like Maria and Raja will be able to continue their mission to provide high-quality, engaging education to the children of Gilgit Baltistan and beyond.

Bibi Finds Her Path

Bibi Kashmira

Bibi Kashmira knows firsthand the difference that an education can make. At just 25 years old, she has navigated uncertainty and economic instability, but always saw her education as the light towards a better path. After finishing university, Bibi struggled to find work in her rural village in Badakhshan province, but she didn’t stop networking and sharing her passion with others. Eventually, Bibi learned about a teaching opportunity at a CAI school and confidently submitted her application. To her delight, she was hired as a primary school teacher at the CAI community-based school, where she would shepherd students through grades one through three.

Taking on this job not only allowed Bibi to serve her community but also provided her with a much-needed source of income. Her husband had suffered an injury, leading to permanent disability, during the conflict of years prior and her employment was crucial in supporting their family financially.

As Bibi tells it, “Before the establishment of the community-based education program in the village, students faced numerous challenges including a long distance to reach school and inability to purchase school supplies. However, since the establishment of the school, students have shown a remarkable interest and enthusiasm for learning. The provision of teaching and learning materials has greatly benefitted not only the students but also their families.”

As a leader in her school and her family, Bibi is a shining light to the girls and boys in her classroom about the positive impact women can make, even in the harshest of circumstances.

Progress in Pakistan

The towering mountains of Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan are serene against the bustling villages below. For Central Asia Institute the activity is truly nonstop. From repairing schools to mobilizing the library van, running IT training sessions, or supporting preschoolers, the community is always engaged. Below, take a photo tour through the work that you made possible by supporting Central Asia Institute:

Construction and Repair of Schools

Ensuring a safe learning environment is paramount for student success and teacher retention. The team tackled painting, maintenance, and full-scale construction projects.

Community School Habibabad Qumarah
New schools in Pakistan built with CAI partnership

Capacity Building and Training

With a focus on quality education, we conducted teacher training programs across Gilgit-Baltistan covering topics from IT to STEM to teaching methods and more. 

Training session

Health, Hygiene, and Well-being

We conducted sessions on health, hygiene, and water and sanitation issues. 

girls washing hands
Health and Hygiene Training

Early Childhood Development and Scholarships

Investing in the future, we’ve focused on early childhood development by training teachers and supporting the establishment of early childhood education centers. We have also continued our efforts to provide scholarships for continued education.

Early Childhood Education in Pakistan

Environmental Education and Infrastructure Improvements

As part of our commitment to the environment, we conducted climate education sessions focused on sanitation and waste management in CAI schools. 

Provision of dustbins

Mini Libraries and Future Endeavors

To encourage and spread a love for reading and learning, we established four mini-libraries in schools across Gilgit Baltistan.

Mini library in Pakistan
Library van

Transforming Lives, Together

We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all our partners and supporters who make these initiatives possible. Together, we strive to transform lives through education and create a world where every child has access to quality learning.

URGENT APPEAL for earthquake survivors in Herat, Afghanistan

In the wake of the recent devastating earthquakes in Afghanistan, which claimed the lives of more than 2,000 people and left nearly 10,000 injured, the situation is dire. Thousands of homes have been destroyed, and more than 66,000 people were affected across multiple districts. These communities are in urgent need of assistance.

While CAI doesn’t operate directly in this area, we are compelled to lend a hand. Our immediate priority is to provide humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable in the community – particularly female and child-headed households who have been displaced and are struggling to meet their basic needs. These families lack the financial resources necessary to support their loved ones.

In addition, we are collaborating with a dedicated group of female health workers who have generously volunteered their services. To further empower their efforts, CAI is committed to providing incentives and transportation support.

A disaster unfolds

On October 7th, 2023, a typical day was abruptly transformed into a devastating humanitarian crisis when the first of three earthquakes hit western Afghanistan. In the following days, an additional two earthquakes continued to destroy homes and injure and kid individuals. According to a Washington Post article, more than 90% of those killed were women and children, many of whom were likely in their brick and concrete homes at the time of the quakes.

Central Asia Institute operates programs in the northern region of Afghanistan, far from the devastation of these earthquakes. But in a nation that is already facing intense challenges due to economic, environmental, and political factors, everyone has a duty to step in and help.

Map of Afghanistan showing the epicenter of earthquake

Our response

Once we had confirmed the safety and well-being of our direct partners and program beneficiaries, CAI went to work coordinating with partners about the greatest needs on the ground and how we could help. Partner organization, WADAN, worked quickly and diligently to identify the needs that we were best suited to meet.

This is where you come in: the request is simple and impactful, and we need your help to respond quickly. Each donation raised towards this urgent campaign will go directly towards purchasing necessities for families, prioritizing women, and child-headed households. These funds will also support volunteer Afghan women health workers to provide medical assistance in these communities.

Your support can make a profound difference during this critical time. Together, we can help these families rebuild their lives and provide essential aid to those who need it most.

Watching Shabana Shine


As the sun rises over Parwan District in Afghanistan, 8-year-old Shabana wakes and joins her parents and eight siblings for breakfast. The day will be busy as usual, as Shabana helps her mother and prepares herself for school. But Shabana relishes it.

As a young girl, she didn’t know if she would ever get the opportunity to attend school because there were simply no options nearby. Instead, Shabana spent her days helping with chores and tending the family’s cattle. But when Central Asia Institute opened a classroom in her community, it was her father who made sure Shabana got registered.

Families play an important role in education

Shabana’s father, a shopkeeper who travels frequently for work, has been an enthusiastic supporter of her education. He knows how critical education is for ensuring a bright future for his children. And the efforts are already bearing fruit. Shabana’s teacher praises her work ethic and excitement for learning. Her reading comprehension is growing daily, and she is mastering new skills in writing and math.

For Central Asia Institute, family and community involvement is a key part of a holistic education. Our partners in Afghanistan have worked hard to create, train, and support community councils that give parents and families the opportunity to be closely involved with their children’s schools. The strong parent-teacher relationship means that children can transition smoothly from home to school, and teachers can more easily understand and support challenges that arise in a child’s life.

Students in a CAI supported school

Students in a CAI supported school.

It takes a (global) village to move the needle on education

 When Shabana and her classmates depart at the end of their school day, they take home their artwork and worksheets to share with their families. Being enrolled in CAI’s school has become a point of pride for the students and their families, and the demand is high for more classrooms in the community. With the generosity and dedication of CAI supporters, we are working hard to meet this demand and continue our lasting investment in these rural communities. Thank you!

Students in a CAI supported school

Students in a CAI supported school

Event Report: An Evening in Vermont

This August, roughly two years after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, Central Asia Institute hosted an intimate discussion on the future of Afghan women and girls. Situated at the Flynn Theater in Burlington, Vermont, the panel featured three incredible women, and drew an audience of more than 100. As the state with the highest number of Afghan refugees per capita, the group of Vermonters and Afghan Vermonters remained deeply engaged throughout the evening.

The event kicked off with a review of scenes from the Frontline docuseries “America and the Taliban,” with live commentary from our guest panelist, Frontline producer Marcela Gaviria. Sharing her insights from more than two decades reporting on Afghanistan, she set the scene for a deep discussion on how women and girls are faring under current restrictions.

Moderated by Vermont Public Radio’s Mikaela Lefrak, the panel discussion began with a focus on panelist Judge Anisa Rasooli, who had only recently arrived in Vermont. Judge Rasooli has been called the RBG of Afghanistan due to her accomplishment of being the first woman appointed to the Afghan Supreme Court.

Panelists from event in Vermont

The panel was rounded out by the third and final panelist, Sediqa Fahimi. Having grown up in a rural village of Afghanistan and not received any formal schooling until the age of 9, Sediqa seized the opportunities availed in the 2000s. She went on to become a Fulbright scholar, earn a Masters, and started her own nonprofit. Since evacuating Afghanistan in 2021, she has continued her important work in the nonprofit sector.

While Central Asia Institute program teams and partners are engaged in crucial work to move the needle on education and girls’ empowerment in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan, our communications and development teams are honored to be able to keep the conversation moving beyond borders. As coverage of Afghanistan inevitably wanes after this two-year anniversary mark, we hope to continue shining a light on the girls and women in this region who are counting on the world to pay attention.

Our next event is coming up in Chicago on October 25th. This event will be both in person and virtual, so be sure to subscribe to our newsletter for the full announcement!

And, we want to hear from you! Is there an event in your hometown that CAI should be a part of? Would you attend a CAI event? Let us know in the comments or by reaching out to

Sulhiya’s Story - Tajikistan

Growing up in the Gorno Badakhshan region of Tajikistan, Sulhiya was known her for compassion and outgoing personality. When she was looking for direction after graduating in 2007, her family encouraged her to pursue teaching, which was a natural fit for her skillset.

Sulhiya immediately developed a deep connection with her students and picked up on a subtle trend among many of them: She noticed that students were embarrassed about their uniforms, which had become tattered with overuse. She also knew that she could help.

Sulhiya - teacher in Tajikistan

Sulhiya was an experienced tailor with a passion for sewing. As a teenager, she would often mend clothes for herself, her family, and friends.

Although she had the desire to help, and the necessary skills, Sulhiya struggled to figure out how she could focus on sewing uniforms while also managing a demanding teaching schedule. Because she was vocal about her vision, she was soon connected to Central Asia Institute-Tajikistan (CAIT). When she attended their first Business Literacy training, all the pieces began to fall into place. The CAIT program provided Sulhiya with the necessary equipment to get started, and the business acumen to see it to fruition.

Energized by her initial progress, Sulhiya worked with CAIT to apply for and attend further training through Accelerate Prosperity in Dushanbe.

Sulhiya’s sewing projects

Today, Sulhiya owns a sewing workshop in Porshinev village of Shugnan District. Her main outputs were initially traditional dresses. However, during the past few years she was working alongside CAIT she expanded her services to include producing high-quality and long-lasting school uniforms helping the children she used to teach.

She is incredibly grateful for her education in entrepreneurship and continues to use the skills she learnt to help her business grow and benefit her community. When asked about her next steps Sulhiya is excited to start formally branding her business, learn digital marketing, and create more jobs for women and girls.

Asia’s Story

Asia is a second grader on a mission. Living in the Dasht Sar Lola village of Badakhshan, Asia has faced tremendous obstacles in her journey towards education, but she has also discovered the satisfaction of learning and personal achievement. After achieving the highest marks in her first grade class, Asia is determined to see continued success in second grade.  

Asia attends a Community-Based Education (CBE) class that was established by WADAN under the CAI-funded Afghan Girls Education (AGE) project in April 2022. CBE classrooms operate in community buildings as a way of providing education in remote areas that is close to home. Larger formal schools are often too far and too difficult to access for the youngest children, making CBE an invaluable initiative in these remote areas.

An Uncertain Journey

Despite her present success, Asia’s story wasn’t always a happy one. Born into extreme poverty, her parents were distraught to see their child, in their words, “wandering the streets.” Struggling to cover the basics, they knew they wouldn’t be able to transport her to the distant formal school and cover any fees needed for school supplies.

When the CBE classroom opened in their community, a weight lifted off their shoulders and they began to see a brighter future ahead for Asia. Although merely attending school was a success, her parents were astounded to see her outstanding performance.

A Leader in the Making

Asia was recently recognized in her District as one of the top students of her grade, amongst 92 classes under the AGE project in Badakhshan.  

“I felt very happy when my teacher and [the community mobilizers] congratulated me and my classmates cheered me for getting the top position in my class. I became more excited about my future” Asia said.

Asia took to school quickly. During first grade, she learned basic mathematics, reading, and writing skills and especially enjoyed her lessons on geography, painting and drawing. She actively took part in the class with joy and interest. 

Her teacher, Gul Beigum said, “Sometimes she was teaching her classmates and attended group activities in an active manner. She did her homework on a regular basis, and I often saw her studying during break times. I am proud to see my student get the first position throughout Badakhshan under the AGE project.”

An Education Back on Track: Royesa’s Story

In the Ishkashan Village of Badakhshan District, Afghanistan, primary education is not a guarantee. Although all children are expected to attend primary school through sixth grade, the barriers to attendance are high. In sparsely populated, mountainous areas, formal school buildings are often a long distance—certainly too long for young children to access—and systemic issues related to poverty add to the challenges. Community-Based Education (CBE), in which small highly localized classes are held in a community building, provides an important bridge to education for the most remote communities.

Royesa is one of the children taking advantage of the opportunity afforded by her local CBE classroom. A 10-year-old girl from Ishkashan Village, she has become an inspiring example of the importance of education. Royesa is currently studying in the second grade at a CBE class established by CAI in partnership with the Welfare Association for the Development of Afghanistan (WADAN). But, like so many in her village, Royesa’s path to learning was not without obstacles.

Despite her initial enrollment and early attendance, Royesa’s teacher, Shukria, was concerned about her sudden absence from class. Shukria informed a child protection team that Royesa’s father had tasked her with caring for the family’s cattle instead of going to school.

The child protection team visited Royesa’s mountainous village and met with her parents. During their conversation, Royesa’s father, Mr. Noor Mohammad explained that his demanding work as a daily wage laborer for a construction company left him with no one to care for their cows, which was their primary source of financial support. Consequently, he asked Royesa, his eldest daughter, to leave school and take responsibility for grazing the animals.

Royesa’s Father

Child Protection Team Member Meeting with Royesa’s Father

Understanding the potential impact on Royesa’s future, the child protection officers worked hand in hand with Royesa’s parents. Financial constraints were a common cause of student absence in the region, compounded by other challenges like remote settings, inaccessible routes, insecurity, and cultural restrictions.

With compassion and conviction, the Child Protection officers emphasized the importance and potential ripple effect of Royesa’s education and successfully convinced her parents to reconsider their decision. In the end, Royesa’s parents agreed to allow her to attend school. In mid-May, the officers followed up with the school, and her teacher confirmed Royesa’s consistent attendance, noting her joy and enthusiasm in the classroom.

Royesa herself expressed her happiness and gratitude for the opportunity to attend school and join her classmates and her hope for a future career in education.

“I am very happy to attend class and be with my classmates. I completed the first grade with good marks, and I want to become a teacher and educate other children.”

Royesa reading with her classmates

Royesa Reading with her Classmates

Mr. Dor Mohammad, a community elder, recognizes the transformative impact of education on the lives of children like Royesa.

He added, “I appreciate the CBE classes established by WADAN and extend my thanks to the Central Asia Institute (CAI) for their support and funding. They are making a real difference in our community.”

Royesa’s journey serves as a powerful reminder that education should never be delayed. Through the collective efforts of organizations, communities, and supportive partners, barriers can be overcome, ensuring a brighter future for all children, regardless of their circumstances.

Nurturing Young Minds

The Early Childhood Development center in Dain, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan, begins each day like all early childhood centers: with smiling teachers greeting their littlest learners. One of those children is Moheed. His mother, Zaheera, knew he would thrive in the social and educational environment, and leapt at the opportunity to enroll him.

A new door opens

When Zaheera heard from her community members that Government Boys Middle School Dain, located in her neighborhood, had introduced an Early Childhood Development (ECD) center, she knew Moheed would join. The center had been newly equipped with facilities designed to nurture young minds, including specially designed furniture for children, an LED TV as an interactive learning aid, an art and science corner, and an early childhood trained teacher.

“Intrigued and hopeful, I took a leap of faith and enrolled my son in the ECD Center Dain,” said Zaheera. She noted the significant impact of the school on Moheed: “Within a remarkably short period, I observed positive changes in my son’s behavior. He has started to develop good habits, such as organizing his belongings, greeting others with respect, brushing his teeth regularly, and neatly folding his clothes,” says Zaheera.

Zahira’s son Moheed

Zaheera’s son Moheed

“He looks forward to his class every morning with great enthusiasm.”

Other mothers from her community have also noticed similar positive changes in their children. They shared stories of their kids becoming more confident, responsible, and eager to learn. The impact of the ECD Center Dain is evident from the parents who were inspired to enroll their children in the program.

Investing in a new generation

For Zaheera, the success story of the ECD Center was more than just a personal achievement. She reflected on her own childhood, where educational opportunities were scarce, and the importance of early childhood development was unaddressed. With a sense of gratitude and satisfaction, she expressed her happiness that the children and parents in her community now had the opportunity to benefit from such a transformative program.

Moheed’s teacher reflected on his enthusiasm and passion for learning. She shared, “Moheed is one of those students who is always eager to learn new things without getting distracted.”

The story of Zaheera and the ECD Center shows an important step toward improving the quality of education in Dain’s community. By recognizing the significance of early childhood development and providing a nurturing environment, the ECD Center is shaping the future of these young minds and setting them on a path of lifelong learning.

Classroom in Pakistan

Students attending the ECD center in Dain

Sitora’s Story

Sitora Majnunova, 41, lives with her brother and daughter in the Roshkala district in Tajikistan’s marginalized Gorno Badakhshan region. Following the death of her husband a few years back, Sitora was at an all-time low. Although she had a passion for sewing, she lost interest in life. She explains, “I had stress and was sick after my husband’s death and nobody could encourage me.”

But all that changed when she decided to attend a CAI-supported training on financial literacy organized by CAI-Tajikistan. Sitora remarked, “It was transformative. The pieces finally came together, and the group of women were so supportive and nurturing.”

“I’m so amazed that my attitude towards life could be changed in such a short period, and allow me to start a business, make a profit. The training motivated me to improve my life and my daughter’s. With the knowledge I gained, I prepared a family budget plan including sources of regular and non-regular income, expenses, and how to save.”

Now Sitora has converted her passion into a business creating traditional Tajik garments including woolen carpets for wedding ceremonies, skull-caps for girls, and woolen socks.

The training provided the launching pad for Sitora’s business to take off, and she hasn’t
slowed down since. She has continued to evaluate her business, study the market for her goods, and develop new and creative ideas.

“I am thinking of new business ideas and doing research on product demand in the market.”

Sadia’s Story

Sadia Sahar, 24, lives with her large family in the Khash District in Badakhshan. Her parents are farmers. While Sadia was lucky to attain a bachelor’s level education, she worried about her ability to work, especially under Taliban rule.

“We are a family of ten and I am the eldest. I completed my studies, but previously had no opportunity to find a job in our area to help support my family. Of course, the income from farming is insufficient for our needs.”

Sadia in Afghanistan

She graduated with a degree in Chemistry from Badakhshan University in 2019 but felt devastated when, after two years, she could not find a job.

Following the Taliban takeover in August 2021, the environment for women completely changed in Afghanistan. Sadia remembers feeling utter distress. But, like so many other women in Afghanistan, she had no choice but to keep striving towards her goals.

“I was disappointed but kept busy helping my mother with household chores, farm work, and livestock.”

When she learned of the opportunity to work as a teacher at a community-based school established by CAI, she jumped on it.

In addition to earning an income, she feels her social status has been enhanced, and the trainings have improved her qualifications academically. She has received training in pedagogy, psychology, teaching methodology, and child protection measures.

Now Sadia has a clear vision for her future; she is helping to support her family and saving money to pursue her Master’s Degree. Sadia is not giving up on her future, and neither is Central Asia Institute.

“I am paid $100 per month and spend some on my family and save some money to start my master’s degree when I have saved enough.”

One Student, One Tree

For the teachers of Central Asia Institute’s Afghan Girls Education (AGE) program, environmental stewardship and education go hand in hand. This spring, classrooms in four Badakhshan districts launched a new initiative to plant one tree for every student in class. Their goal: to make Afghanistan green.

Mrs. Bashira, a teacher from Dehqan Khana, was thrilled to take part in the “One student, one tree” campaign. She and her students planted five trees in their classroom area, sparking joyful reactions from the children.

Students planting trees

Marjan, one of Mrs. Bashira’s students, was excited to be a part of the campaign and said that it was the first time she had ever planted a tree. For her and her classmates, it was a unique experience and has become a source of pride as they tend to the young trees.

The campaign similarly received a warm welcome from the surrounding communities. Mr. Namaz, a teacher from Kata Dara reflected: “Children are like newly planted trees. They require nurturing, attention, and care. It is crucial for families and parents to take responsibility for their children’s education and growth. Only then can we hope to achieve a green and prosperous Afghanistan.”

Students planting trees

With more than a third of Afghanistan’s forests lost in the past three decades, there is a long journey ahead to bring back the greenery. However, education about climate change and the conservation of natural resources is one important piece of the puzzle. These teachers and students are helping lead the way to a greener Afghanistan.

Students in Afghanistan with their parents

Preschool #2 Update: A vision realized, brick by brick

Barushan is a small town nestled in the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan’s Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Oblast (GBAO) region. A poor and isolated province, GBAO grapples with neglected infrastructure and limited economic opportunity. Many of the schools in the region have not been renovated for decades, putting children and teachers at risk of building-related illness and injury. Despite the perilous conditions, families have remained steadfast in their commitment to education.

Preschool #2 Progress

A pillar of hope and opportunity

Since its establishment in 1962, Preschool #2 has been the only preschool in Barushan, serving the 3 to 5-year-olds of the community. Even with sagging ceilings, mold, and smoke-stained walls from coal-burning stoves used for heat, there was a waitlist to get in. That’s when you stepped in to help.

Fresh on the heels of constructing and opening a model school in Udit village in 2019, Central Asia Institute broke ground on Preschool #2. Although the work is now in its final stretch, the path has not been easy since construction began in 2021. Supply chain limitations of the Covid era exacerbated the existing challenges of high mountains, dangerous roads, and harsh winter weather. 

Construction progress of school in Tajikistan-man on scaffolding

The completed school will contain five classrooms, a kitchen, a nurse’s office, and art and music rooms. It will have central heating, indoor latrines, piped water, and electric power.

During 2021 and 2022, construction crews laid a strong foundation for the two-story building that will serve 125 3 to 5-year-olds. Spring of 2023 has seen progress on completion of the second story as well as interior plastering, heating, and eletrical work. Throughout the summer and early fall, the building will continue its transformation into a safe and high-quality educational environment for Barushan’s youngest learners.

The home stretch

The impact of Preschool #2 will be monumental for the 125 preschoolers, their families, and teachers—and it won’t stop with them. As a model school for the region, the school will be home to training workshops for teachers and administrators and serve as an example for future projects in the area. With a built-to-last design and materials, the school will serve these 125 preschoolers along with hundreds more in the years to come.

Support from the friends of Central Asia Institute has made this work possible—and there is still time to help this project get to the finish line. Please consider a gift to Preschool #2 today.

Girl on playground

Read, Watch, And Listen: Your Central Asia Study Guide

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Defiant Dreams
By Sola Mahfouz and Malaina Kapoor, 2023

Mahfouz and Kapoor shed light on the experiences of everyday Afghan girls and women through Sola Mahfouz’s incredible story. Born at the start of the Taliban’s first reign, she was unable to add or subtract at the age of 16. Through sheer will and grit, Sola educated herself and went on to become a quantum computer researcher in the United States.

Azan on the Moon: Entangling Modernity Along Tajikistan’s Pamir Highway
By Till Mostowlansky, 2017

Mostowlansky offers an in-depth, anthropological study of people’s lives along the Pamir Highway
in eastern Tajikistan, a road that profoundly changed the material and social fabric of a former Soviet outpost on the border with Afghanistan and China.

Postcards From Stanland: Journeys in Central Asia
By David H. Mould, 2016

Postcards From Stanland provides a glimpse of the people, landscapes, and customs of some of the diverse countries of Central Asia—Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan—and paints a rich picture of this post-Soviet world.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
By Malala Yousafzai, with Christina Lamb, 2015

I Am Malala is the story of a 15-year-old Pakistani girl who fought for her right to an education and was shot in the head by the Taliban while riding the bus home from school. Malala survived and became a symbol of peaceful protest and a Nobel Peace Prize recipient.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
By Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, 2010

Kristof and WuDunn introduce readers to women and girls in the developing world who are struggling against oppression and then show how, with only a small amount of help, their lives are transformed and potential is unleashed.

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America and the Taliban, PBS Frontline
Martin Smith, 2023

Drawing on decades of on-the-ground reporting and interviews with Taliban and U.S. officials, this epic three-part investigation traces how America’s 20-year investment in Afghanistan culminated in a Taliban victory and examines the missteps and consequences.

Bread and Roses
Sahra Mani, 2023

This feature film captures the harrowing and heartbreaking experiences of Afghan women in Kabul after the Taliban retook control of Afghanistan. It premiered at Cannes Film Festival and
is not yet available for streaming.

SOLA: Daring to Educate Afghanistan’s Girls, CBS 60 Minutes
Lesley Stahl, 2023

This 60 Minutes piece follows a group of Afghan girls who fled their country after the Taliban regained power and settled in Kigali, Rwanda, where they are attending the School of Leadership Afghanistan (SOLA) and getting the education they crave. Available for streaming on CBS.

Frame by Frame
Alexandria Bombach and Mo Scarpelli, 2015

Frame by Frame chronicles the plight of four Afghan photojournalists as they work to build a free press after decades of war and oppression during the Taliban regime. Available on Apple TV.

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Kabul Falling
Project Brazen, in partnership with PRX, 2022

On August 15, 2021, the Taliban regained control of Kabul nearly 20 years after coalition forces had cast them out of power. In this riveting podcast, you’ll hear first-hand accounts from Afghans who attempted to flee their country in the final days of the U.S. withdrawal and learn of their struggles to rebuild their lives at home and abroad.

The New Afghanistan, Through the Eyes of Three Women
Christina Goldbaum, The Daily, New York Times, 2023

This episode of The Daily profiles three Afghan women who are coping with the Taliban’s return
to power and the new restrictions on women and girls.



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