Islam is unequivocal in its teaching that society and families should support the education of women. According to a hadith narrated by Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, our Beloved Prophet, peace be upon him, is reported to have said; “If a daughter is born to a person and he brings her up, gives her a good education and trains her in the arts of life, I shall myself stand between him and hell-fire” (Kanz al-Ummal).
Working in cooperation with the elders in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Greg Mortenson, author of Three Cups of Tea and more recently, Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace With Books, Not Bombs, In Afghanistan And Pakistan has supported more than 130 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. With an emphasis on girls’ education, the schools have reached 58,000 students, including 40,000 girls.
Mortenson’s organization, The Central Asia Institute, works on a range of projects, including school construction, teacher education, scholarships, public health, economic development projects, and women’s literacy and vocational training. Pennies for Peace is a sister organization that involves young people globally in the effort to expand educational opportunities for children, and especially girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Mortenson was recently featured on PBS’s Bill Moyers Journal.