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Copy of Stirring the Fire Plan
Transcript of Copy of Stirring the Fire Plan
Prior to the fall of the Taliban, Yelda stayed at home and helped her family make carpets. She would now like to become a teacher and specialize in English. She has enrolled in the Out-of-School Girls Project, a program designed to help girls ages 9-14 catch up on their education and rejoin the mainstream education system. Today only half of Afghan children age 7 to 13 attend school and of those only 34% are girls.
I first noticed Rufo as she was walking to school with her sister. Like most Boren girls she spends her days collecting water and firewood and helping her mother cook. Her labor plays a vital role in her family's survival. Recently a school was opened in her territory. Since Rufo's mother could only spare the labor of one of her seven children, she chose Rufo's sister, Loco, to get an education. As the sisters approached the school room, Rufo dropped back and watched Loco go in. She paused, slowly turned and walked home to begin her daily chores.
Gilo spent much of her time fetching water for her family of five before a cistern was built in her village. Previously she had to walk more than three hours, four times a week, with her daughter Galmo to collect water from the nearest spring in the mountains. The cistern freed up enough time to allow Galmo to start going to school. Galmo is Gilo's first child and the first person in her entire family to get a formal education. In many Ethiopian villages something as basic as building a cistern or drilling a well will allow hundreds of children to get an education.
Fahima, a teacher since 1985 was one of the thousands of professional women who lost their jobs when the Taliban came to power. In defiance of the Taliban and at great risk to herself, Fahima opened a clandestine school for young girls. At one point 130 girls were coming to her home each week to study math, science and Pushto. When the girls were asked why they were going to Fahimas' house, they said she was their aunt. Although harassed by the religious police and threatened with beatings and worse, Fahima continued operating her school for girls until the fall of the Taliban.
Humaria sells eggs as a street vendor to help her family survive. As with many families in Afghanistan, years of war have left them very poor. Only half of all Afghan children ages 7 to 13 attend school and typically boys are chosen over girls. When the Taliban came to power, education for girls came to an end. In 2003 the Out-of-School Girls Project began a program designed to help girls ages 9 to 14 catch up on the education they lost and rejoin the mainstream education system.
Lucille Windy-Boy, 71
Lucille, a recent widow, is well known around Rocky Boy for the high-quality tepees she sews. Her husband had been widely known throughout the territory as an important spiritual leader. When I met Lucille, she was surrounded by some of her 42 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren. They proudly told me that Lucille and her husband had started college five years ago and earned their bachelor degrees together.
Dolma Ling Nunnery, India
These nuns had just arrived at the Dolma Ling nunnery in India after fleeing Tibet. In 1992 they were arrested, beaten, shocked with electric cattle prods and imprisoned two years for placing posters in Lhasa protesting the occupation of Tibet. Several times while talking, Dechen broke into tears, quietly excused herself and continued relating her story.
In 1991, a group of Tibetan nuns appeared on the streets of Dharamsala, India. Fleeing Chinese persecution, the refugees had nowhere to live, nothing to eat, and no support network. Renchin, a Tibetan refugee herself, helped the nuns find housing and establish a nunnery. Her efforts grew into the Tibetan Nuns Project, an organization that provides exiled nuns with shelter, health care, and, notably, education. Traditionally only monks could become teachers. By giving nuns education, Renchin has opened the door to their economic independence.
Violeta 29 / Guadelupe, Ecuador Violeta grew up in an indigenous and male-dominated culture. Though a vast majority of Shuar girls drop out of school to get married in their mid-teens, Violeta both completed high school and - while pregnant with her third child - earned a teaching degree. Today Violeta has become the first woman leader in her traditionally "machista" society. Now Violeta is teaching women and girls lessons on gender equity and cooperation. Violeta said that the social fabric is slowly changing. Woman may now pursue money making activities and are not confined to their traditional roles of cooking, cleaning and child rearing.
Augustina, 13 / Dekoto Junction, Ghana Heavy logging damaged the cocoa trees and corn crops that Augustina's family farms. Sixty percent of the Ghanaians depend on forest resources like cocoa trees for their livelihoods, yet as of 1990, Ghana had lost 80 percent of its forests to the timber industry. Finally, Dekoto Junction's first female chief - - "Madame Koko" - - put an end to the destructive logging practice in their village.
Bowku Village, Ghana
Even though Wouli has to spend four hours a day fetching water and firewood, she religiously does her homework. Working with her best friend Atinyo, she spends two hours after school practicing her language and math assignments on a chalkboard her father attached to the side of her house. Many uneducated children in Wouli's village fall victim to child traffickers with promises of good jobs. The children typically end up as indentured household servants to individuals in Togo's capital, Lome. With few exceptions their families never see them again. Education and awareness programs in the villages of Togo address this prevalent problem.
Summary and Next Steps