Central Asia Institute’s mission is to empower communities of Central Asia through literacy and education, especially for girls, promote peace through education and convey the importance of these activities globally. The videos listed below have been culled from CAI’s extensive video archive. They were chosen to highlight our programs in Afghanistan and Pakistan, expound on the many benefits of educating children in developing countries and demonstrate the role of education in building a peaceful world.

Footsteps – Spring 2019

The desire for education is so great in Central Asia that students and teachers risk their safety every day to study and work in dilapidated schools. There is no other building to use, no money to rebuild, and no one to help them.

Journey of Hope – Fall 2018

Want the full experience? Watch this…

Pakistani photojournalist, Sa’adia Khan, visited schools and other CAI projects this summer. Retrace her steps.

We Will Rise Above

You can help re-write the stories of thousands more deserving students, ensure that refugee children don’t become a lost generation, create opportunities for women to become entrepreneurs through vocational training, and help these hard working people rise above any challenge that comes their way. Each day they face many barriers that try to keep them down, but together we won’t let that happen. Together we will help them rise.

Stand Together, Stand as One

Something unstoppable can start so simply and bring two worlds together. From a school in Denver, Co to the streets of Afghanistan, 7,000 miles away. Help the next generation of women become unstoppable – stand together, stand as one. 

Education: The Civil Rights Movement of Our Time


Ami has advocated for educational development and equality in the U.S. for the past 20 years. Central Asia Institute has done the same in war-torn and impoverished areas of the world.

“I truly believe that when all kids have access to what some kids have, in terms of an equal education, it will drastically change our world,” Ami said. “We must address barriers to education, whatever they are.”

When you take away barriers to education and a student can experience success for the first time, this becomes a foundation for further success. They learn that there is no limit to what they can do.

CAI’s spring campaign will directly fund boundary walls, tent schools, and essential supplies, because when children are not given the opportunity to use their energy in a positive way they are more likely to use it in a negative way. Education has the power to break this cycle.

Pennies for Peace Partnership

Cross-cultural understanding is an important part of creating a better world. Get together and be part of a meaningful service-learning project that can enriched the lives of your community.

Faces of the Future

Students discuss what having a CAI scholarship has meant to them and the challenges they would face without it.


Journey of Hope: Change starts with you

A dollar is just a dollar, right? Or perhaps a dollar is a declaration that landmines and war must not rob the tiniest and most vulnerable among us of their right to play. A dollar is a wish that childhood marriage and lack of education no longer deprive young women of their right to speak. Actually, it is the best defense against tyranny, oppression and violence. It is safety, health, water, books, scholarships, empowerment, justice, change, and hope. See what your dollar can do by watching our latest video or  reading the stories enclosed in this year’s Journey of Hope magazine.

Nurturing Dreams: Summer 2015 Scholarship Campaign

When CAI started educating girls nearly 20 years ago, we concentrated on providing children with a basic education. But the dreams and ambitions of children of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan are limitless. CAI wants to nurture those dreams. That is why our 2015 Summer Campaign is dedicated to raising scholarship funds.

Building Hope

For the children of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan, a well-built school gets them out of the wind, snow, and sun, and allows them to focus on their studies. This is why CAI’s dedicated it’s 2015 spring campaign to rebuilding, repairing, growing, and expanding 31 schools.

With your help CAI can build a more peaceful, sustainable, and enlightened future. Help us build a bridge to tomorrow.

Who is CAI?

Central Asia Institute (CAI) works with communities in remote areas of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan, to promote education, especially for girls. At home and abroad, CAI is committed to sharing our expert knowledge with the public. Together we can cultivate peace, nurture hope, and change the world, one child at a time.

Hope for the Holidays

As families here gather for the holidays, families halfway around the world struggle to claim their most basic human rights of food, health, & education. Winter is especially rough. Since 1996, Central Asia Institute has promoted education, especially for girls, in underserved, remote, impoverished and sometimes-dangerous regions of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. Education provides tools for a better life and inspires hope, and more communities want our help every day. We need YOUR help to make dreams come true.

Stitching together a better future

Women in Pakistan and Afghanistan’s patriarchal societies face innumerable challenges in their quest to contribute to their families’ economic health & wellbeing. For more than a decade, CAI’s vocational centers have taught sewing, knitting, &embroidery, nurturing the skills women need to overcome those challenges. As their skills and participation increase, so too does their self-respect, sense of a shared community and empowerment.

Witness the energy and activity at CAI’s women’s vocational centers in Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor.

A day in the life of an Afghan school girl

Gul Bahar, an 8th-grader in Afghanistan’s remote & starkly beautiful Wakhan Corridor, is determined to get an education. Although the closest school is miles from her home, she eagerly dons her uniform & only pair of shoes each morning to make the 90-minute trek to school.

Join Gul Bahar as she rises before dawn to do her chores, walks to school with her classmates, cooks with her mother, & does her homework. See for yourself how CAI is making a difference for children & their families in one of the Last Best Places.

CAI’s story

More than 130 million children in the world are illiterate, according to the United Nations. For myriad reasons, those children – more than half of whom are girls – will enter adulthood unable to read and write, develop their potential, achieve their goals and participate fully in society.

Yet numerous studies show that educating a girl to at least the fifth-grade level has a profound impact: girls marry later, infant and maternal mortality drop, household income rises, and basic health improves.

This video tells the history of CAI’s programs in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the U.S. It includes footage of CAI co-founder Greg Mortenson visiting villages and CAI projects that are fulfilling CAI’s mission to promote peace, one school at a time.

Westside Elementary – The first school

“Not everyone has what we have and I think we take a lot of it for granted.”

That comment comes from a former Westside Elementary School student who was part of the first-ever penny drive to raise money to help Greg Mortenson build a school in the Karakoram Mountains of northern Pakistan.

Pennies for Peace was conceived in 1994 by students and teachers at Westside School in River Falls, Wisc., where Greg Mortenson’s mother, Jerene, was the principal. Since the students represented a broad socioeconomic spectrum, the teachers opted to focus on pennies because, as one teacher says, “Everyone has a penny.”

Greg and Amira Mortenson Interview

A few years ago, Amira Mortenson interviewed her dad, CAI co-founder Greg Mortenson, about his work and the organization he founded just before she was born.

Amira’s Q&A with her dad, filmed as they walked in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado in 2008, covers questions children and adults often have about CAI, Pennies for Peace, and Greg Mortenson.

Stones into Schools

International news cameraman Mike Simon juxtaposes archival footage of CAI’s first project in Afghanistan with updated video of the people and projects that make up CAI’s efforts to promote peace through education in Afghanistan.

The film begins with footage of fighting in Kabul in 2010 and through interviews, video clips and still photos tells the story of a war-ravaged country that has grown weary of fighting, death and loss.

In Afghanistan, CAI’s co-founder Greg Mortenson found a yearning for education that “never seems to end,” and took up the challenge to turn stones into schools and honor those people who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.