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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The men of the family remain unconvinced as they worry about the of Afghanistan, then women loss of income associated with Razia no longer helping with the har- are the eyes of our country. vest of almonds and peaches, with what she will be learning, and Without an education, we will whether she will be safe — in this country girls have been burned and all be blind." It is only after they poisoned for pursuing an education. Razia's father expresses concern see how Razia's limited ability that if girls are allowed to attend school, they will also want to go into to read can help the family that town to shop on their own or shed their burqas in public. they allow her to attend — she A visit from the head of the school, Razia Jan, does not change intentionally listened to her brothers studying to learn the basics. their minds. She gently explains why educating Razia is good for her This is the storyline of Wellesley author Liz Suneby's latest book, family and country. "I ask for your tolerance, if not support for Razia's Ray of Hope. Part of the Citizen Kid series published by Kids Razia's education," Jan says. "Please consider, if men are the backbone Can Press, the beautifully illustrated book provides children and AFTER ATTENDING A FUNDRAISER for the Zabuli Education Center for Girls here in Wellesley, author and WellesleyWeston Magazine contributor Liz Suneby decided that this story must be told. "It is hard for those of us that have so many educational opportunities to get our arms around what it is like for these girls, but a story, it can help people understand," Suneby says. Intent on depicting the story as realistically as possible, Suneby spent countless hours on the phone with Razia Jan, the founder and head of the school, who lives in Afghanistan. "I could just imagine her sitting there in the evening, seeing by the light of the generator, and coughing due to the dampness in the air," Suneby recalls. Together they reviewed the girls' experiences, the details of their efforts to convince their families to let them attend, of how they spend their day at school, and of the sacrifices that they, and their families, make for them to attend. Suneby pored over photographs to understand what the school looks like inside and out, to see how the girls play, and to imagine the context in which they live. Through hours of conversation, Razia's character and story were born. Upon completing the text, Suneby replicated the process with Canadian artist Suana Verelst to provide context for the illustrations. Verelst's multimedia artwork fully complements Suneby's story. Authentic depictions of what Razia's family wears and eats, of how women in her community carry heavy loads, and of how the girls play hopscotch (it is designed differently; find the picture in the book to see how!) extend the storyline to provide a deeper glimpse into contemporary life in a small Afghani community. Autographed copies of Razia's Ray of Hope can be purchased at Wellesley Books. A portion of the pro- We l l e s l e y We s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 3 ceeds from the sales of every copy of Razia's Ray of Hope will be donated to the Zabuli Education Center. 96 How Did Razia's Ray of Hope Come to Be? ©ELIZABETH SUNEBY PUBLISHED BY KIDS CAN PRESS The Chance to Go to School

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