Like many of you, I recently finished reading the 2006 bestseller Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin - an astonishing and ongoing story of a man [Mortenson] who, climbing down K2 after a failed summitting attempt, stumbled into a Pakistani village and a new life building schools where there aren't any in northern Pakistan and now Afghanistan.
Working similar magic, but from a somewhat different perspective is John Wood, founder of the remarkable foundation Room to Read, which builds libraries, schools and computer labs in Southeast and Central Asia, and now Africa. I also just finished Mr. Wood's book, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, a no less inspiring story of an overworked corporate executive who stumbled upon a cavernous need for better education in the developing world and dropped everything to commit to help build libraries and schools for people who don't have them. - The Boston Chapter of Room to Read held a sold out findraiser at The Elephant Walk in Cambridge last November in pursuit of their goal of building 10 libraries in Cambodia.
It was Heather Faris, Cambridge resident and mother of two students who educated all of us at The Elephant Walk as to what American journalist Bernie Krisher is doing with his non-profit organization, American Assistance for Cambodia [AAfC}- you guessed it: building schools in Cambodia [more than 400 so far] and more. Ms. Faris brought us up to speed early last year on the Cambridge School for Cambodia [CambCamb] project, a grass roots Cambridge organization she was helping run that included many students and was raising money to fund a school through the AAfC. [We hosted a fundraiser in support of their effort at our Cambridge restaurant last April that raised over $5,000. - We're also hosting a follow-up buffet luncheon this coming May 9 - spearheaded by Cambridge high school student Lucy Flamm - to help further the CambCamb mission - (Tickets are still available!)]
Frankly, until recently, I had no idea how many people are making extraordinary commitments of time and money, sometimes even risking their lives let alone their life savings to help bring the opportunity of education to people whose governments and community resources cannot provide it. Their efforts and achievements are amazing and inspiring.