Roots of Peace opens girls' school in Afghanistan

Roots of Peace opens girls' school in Afghanistan
September 29, 2010 7:02:05 PM PDT
Two courageous Bay Area women have returned from Afghanistan, after delivering on a promise. They used the pennies raised by children in this country to build a new school for girls in that country.

This is the second new school in Afghanistan to be built by the Roots of Peace Children's Penny Campaign and soon those Afghan children will also have access to the Internet.

A group of young Afghan boys sang for the opening ceremony of a brand new high school for their sisters and 600 other girls in the Bamyan Province in Afghanistan. It is high in the mountains, at an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet and is the only high school for girls here.

It was paid for with pennies raised by children from the San Francisco Bay Area and around the world. They joined the Roots of Peace Children's Penny Campaign, co-founded by Heidi Kuhn of San Rafael, a mother of four, and her daughter, Kyleigh Kuhn.

"I was approached by Dr. Habibi Sorabi, the first and only woman governor of Afghanistan," said Heidi.

She asked Heidi to promise to build a school for teen girls.

Heidi and her daughter risked their lives, traveling through Taliban territory, to attend the school's dedication this fall.

"They know we're there and we're helping the Afghan people," said Heidi.

Heidi and Kyleigh were joined at the dedication by Heidi's husband, Gary Kuhn. He was there, inspecting agricultural programs led by Roots of Peace.

The students received brand new computers, donated by a company in Abu Dhabi, Dubai. Heidi and Kyleigh also returned to the first school built by the Roots of Peace Children's Penny Campaign back in 2006 in Mir Bacha Kot.

There they delivered more brand new computers.

"We believe that through education and agriculture that this country will be lifted up," said Heidi.

They dedicated a new computer lab to Diane Disney Miller, Walt Disney's daughter, for the largest private donation to Roots of Peace, to remove landmines.

Kyleigh was just 18 on her first visit to Afghanistan in 2005. I was with her and Heidi, when Kyleigh saw children studying under a tent in the hot sun.

She promised to get a school built. These children are immensely grateful.

An Afghan boy said instead of learning under the hot sun, "We learned under the roof. I want to thank Heidi and Kyleigh, because you have helped our school."

"It was a lot of work, but being able to see the smiles on the students' faces here, all of it was worth it," said Kyleigh.

The U.S. Military at the Bagram Air Base is working to get solar power to Bamyan, to power the children's computers, because there is no electricity there.

The Roots of Peace Children's Penny Campaign has raised 50 million pennies since it started seven years ago.

If you're interested in donating or getting your school involved click here: Roots of Peace


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