WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2013

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

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Formal learning opportunities for girls have been scarce in Afghanistan since the Taliban outlawed female education in 1996. Although the government has since changed and schools have been reopened, strong cultural biases against girls' education linger. Only 14 percent of school-aged girls actually attend school and, of those, only 18 percent complete primary school. Consequently, only 13 percent of women in Afghanistan are literate. This compares with 43 percent of men. Razia Jan, an Afghan native and former resident of Duxbury, started the Zabuli Educational Center for Girls in 2008 with the hope of improving the lives of women and children. "We opened a school for girls in Afghanistan to help break the cycle of poverty through access to an education in a very poor area," Jan explains. In addition, Jan was intent on breaking the cycle of powerlessness, creating a school environment where girls could slowly, over years, develop a sense of self and voice that would ultimately benefit their families and communities. To be successful among these challenging circumstances, the school needed Jan's grit, ability, perspective, and influence on the ground; for these reasons she moved back to Afghanistan in 2007. Her first priorities were physical building, a program, and community support. Running the school takes constant negotiation, fortitude, and enthusiasm. As in 99 f a l l 2 0 1 3 | We l l e s l e y We s t o n M a g a z i n e to build a strong foundation in the form of a

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