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I learned about this organization in a book i just finished "Three Cups of Tea" by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. This part is about to be a repeat in this forum, but whatever. The book is about an american mountaineer/humanitarian who ventures on over to Pakistan to climb K2, but fails and stumbles barely alive into a small village in the northern region. The local people take him in and nurse him back to health. Moved by their kindness he vows to come back and build them a school. The book details his progress as he comes to co-found the Central Asia Institute and builds over 55 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It's one of the most moving books I've read in years and stirs inside of you the want to do good and the will to make a difference. I think everyone everywhere should read it.

So here's where you teachers come in: an offspring of the Central Asia Institute is a non-profit organization called Pennies for Peace, whose mandate is to educate school kids of North America (elementary & high school) about life in Afghanistan and Pakistan and how important of a role education plays in promoting international peace. Every day in these remote regions muslim extremists fueled by rich Saudi oil money are opening up schools by the hundreds and instead of teaching math and language are teaching jihad and how to shoot down an 'infidel'. The people are so poor and so uneducated to the point where differences in these schools means nothing to them. It's the CAI's mandate to combat this by providing these children with a balanced education and a hope for the future.

Visit the Pennies for Peace website (www.penniesforpeace.org) and sign your class up today to start making a difference! The organization will send you postcards for each participant, stickers for your penny containers, certificates of appreciation, etc. The organization only accepts pennies, as they are the coin that most North Americans view as useless, but over in Pakistan and Afghanistan it buys a pencil and gives these kids a second chance. The money goes towards school supplies for the schools the CAI builds.

I've already signed my cousin's split 5/6 class up and am really hoping others get involved. Upon visiting the website you may notice the terms "American Schools", "American children", etc. thrown around a lot, but i've emailed them and know that a number of Canadian schools are already making a difference. The website also has a great curriculum outline and resource list to help you inform your class of what is happening out there and to stir great classroom conversation as to who can make a difference and how.

I feel so strongly about this and I hope everyone on here at least gives this great idea some thought. It's a fantastic way to promote international understanding and to get kids thinking at such a young age that anyone, anywhere, with only a penny in their hand, can make a difference.

Please consider this!!

Here's a couple of websites to check out!:

Central Asia Institute

Pennies for Peace

United Nations Cyber School Bus

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This sounds like a very good cause. It's a crying shame how far the Wahhabi tentacles have gotten around the world (or the evangelical ones too, for that matter).

It's a pity that the terms "American schools" or "Canadian schools" can't be discarded for something little more neutral, if they want to avoid any of the usual binaries.

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