WellesleyWeston Magazine

FALL 2018

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.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/1011917

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Page 131 of 207

develop a sense of self and a voice that would not only benefit them, but also their families, their communities, and eventually citizens of the world," explains Razia. Just one day before Razia's school was to open, the elder men in the town threatened her and demanded she make the Zabuli school a boys' school, since, as they proclaimed: "The boys are the backbone of Afghanistan." Razia, who had no intention of changing her plans, set the men straight: "If the boys are the backbone of our country, then the girls are the eyesight, and unfortunately, you all are blind," she replied. Despite her assertive response, Razia knew she needed the support and involvement of locals for the school to thrive. She worked tirelessly over the years to gain it, and her determination has paid off. Fast for- ward 10 years and approximately 600 girls have stepped through the bright red doors of the Zabuli Education Center for Girls to begin a new school year and their transformative journey. Although they're all girls, each student's journey takes a different path. Some face high hurdles to complete their education. Yalda, for example, was engaged to be married when she was only in ninth grade. But, with the support of her teachers and classmates, she was able to continue her education. In 12th grade Yalda married. But fortunately, her husband allowed her to compete her education. As the young bride noted, "I am a living example that anyone who has strong faith in doing something can do it." the school. Patti, the mother of two young daughters, assumed the exec- utive director position. Their goal was to help move the world one step closer to peace by providing disempowered Afghan girls with the basic human right to a free education. It was a bold step in a country ravaged by years of civil war, Russian and Taliban occupation, and still reeling from the negative effects of Taliban influence. But Razia, who came to the U.S. for college as a teen approximately 40 years earlier, vividly remembered another reality that she was intent on reviving — when Afghan women were educated and valued as contributors to society in and beyond the household. "I built the Zabuli Education Center for Girls so, over time, the students could Patti Quigley and Razia Jan, founders of Razia's Ray of Hope Foundation 130 W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | f a l l 2 0 1 8 Razia's Ray of Hope Foundation

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