Last Fall, I borrowed a book from my mother-in-law, Barb, called Three Cups of Tea. The book discusses the work of Greg Mortenson, a former mountaineer who, while attempting to climb K2 in Pakistan, stumbled into a small town called Korphe (KOR-FAY) and was nursed back to health by the villagers, who were extremely isolated from the outside world. This isolation also meant that the children and the adults of the village were largely uneducated and illiterate--yet, they strived for education. Greg made a promise that he would, somehow, come back to Pakistan and build a school for the children of Korphe. This endeavor launched the non-profit organization, the Central Asia Institute (CAI), that has subsequently built many schools all over the most rural regions of Pakistan.
So...you may be wondering why building schools in a foreign country makes for interesting reading. Well, it is not just that the people of Pakistan want to educate their children--they also want to educate their girls and provide a secular, non-extremist education. Greg Mortenson believes that the best way to combat terrorism in this country is by bringing education and, thus, hope, to the most remote areas of the country. It is through education, not bombs and war, that the War on Terror will be won. For instance, in many areas where the government has not funded schools, madrassas (or Islamic schools) funded by extremist groups have sprung up. Because the people in the areas are so eager for an education and this is their only option, their children are sent to these schools and are often indoctrinated with an extremist education--which fuels terrorism.