Photo: Ellen Jaskol
26 November, 2014


Journey of Hope

Dear Friends of Central Asia Institute,


Asalaamu Aleikum (Peace be with you). Greetings and Happy Thanksgiving from Bozeman, Mont.

It's that time of year again! Central Asia Institute (CAI) has released its annual Journey of Hope magazine, 64 pages of inspiring stories and stunning photos about CAI's work and the people and communities we serve.


This year, the Journey of Hope includes a special celebration of CAI's Heroes, inspiring and courageous young women who persevere against all odds to get education. (Read more below! ) Also this year, we have posted videos on the CAI website,, that add a new dimension to the Journey of Hope stories.

CAI Co-Founder Greg Mortenson says he thinks the 2014 edition is the "best JOH ever!" Please take a look, and help us spread the word by sharing the links with your friends and families.

None of this work is possible without your help. Keep reading to find out more about how your contributions during this holiday season can provide much-needed fuel for CAI's ongoing work to promote peace through education.  

Education Heroes Rise Above Hardship in 2014 'Journey of Hope'


Young woman

HeroesIn some parts of the world, just getting up in the morning, putting your shoes on, and going to school is one of the bravest things you can do - especially if you are a girl. 


Gul Bahar does it. The eighth-grader walks three hours each day in the remote mountains of northeast Afghanistan just to go to school. 


In Pakistan's Hunza region, Naseem, who overcame enormous odds in the wake of a devastating landslide to finish high school and college, does it, too. 


As does, Rahila, a high school student in Tajikistan's high-altitude Pamir region. 


These three young women share a tenacity for education - despite the obstacles.


They are our heroes.

Video That Puts You There


CAI believes in the power of stories to connect people. Here are two brand-new videos about our work in 2014:


WATCH: Stitching Together a Better Future

Stitching Together A Better Future

 Women in CAI's partner communities face steep challenges in their quests to contribute economically. For more than a decade, CAI's vocational centers have taught sewing, knitting, and embroidery, nurturing the skills women need to overcome those challenges. As their skills and participation increase, so too does their self-respect, sense of a shared community and empowerment. Witness the energy and activity at CAI's women's vocational centers in Afghanistan's Wakhan Corridor.


WATCH: A Day in the Life of an Afghan Schoolgirl

Gul Bahar

 Gul Bahar, an eighth-grader in Afghanistan's remote and starkly beautiful Wakhan Corridor, is determined to get an education. Although the closest school is miles from her home, she dutifully dons her uniform and her slips into her only pair of shoes each morning to make the 90-minute trek to school. Join Gul Bahar for a day. See for yourself how CAI is making a difference for children and their families in one of the Last Best Places.

Toilets, Term Papers, and Turkeys


Afghan school toilet
Toilet at an Afghan school.

Did you know that safe, private toilets at schools increase girls' enrollment?


Toilets may not be "polite" dinner-table conversation. The subject is even taboo in some places. But at CAI we pay a lot of attention toilets because of their key role in girls' enrollment, attendance, and completion of their educations.


The CAI blog regularly features stories about projects, communities and our overseas project managers, field reports from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and breaking news from the areas we serve. 


Click HERE to read more about why you should never underestimate the importance of toilets. Other recent posts include a Montana boy's inspiring essay about his hero: Greg Mortenson; and kudos to Pakistani girls' education advocate Malala Yousafzai and Indian child rights campaigner Kailash Satyarthi on being awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.


We'll have a Thanksgiving post on Thursday, too, so be sure to check that out.

2015 Calendars Are Going Fast

Once again, the photos in the annual Journey of Hope calendar bring CAI's perseverance and commitment to life.


Photojournalist Erik Petersen's images depict students in our nontraditional Afghan nomad school and in a classroom at the end of the road in Hushe Valley, Pakistan. The shot of a school in the Wakhan Corridor illustrates the stunning beauty of the harsh landscape. Photos of children working and playing portray life outside the classroom.


You can read Karin Ronnow's introductory essay HERE.


Spend the year ahead with these stunning photos. Order online or call 406.585.7841. 


Calendars are $12 each and all proceeds go to further CAI's work promoting education, especially for girls, in remote mountain regions of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan. 


PS: They make wonderful gifts.

How YOU Can Help


Girls laughing

CAI believes in the collective power of individuals to bring about change and promote peace. That's where you come in.


Release of the 2014 Journey of Hope coincides with our 2014 fall fundraising appeal, a video of version of which can be seen HERE. While the JOH paints a picture of how your generous support helps in a big way, the fall appeal is a reminder that we always need your help.


Like Gul Bahar, Naseem, and Rahila, the CAI team is determined to get up every morning, put our shoes on, and get to work. We will stay the course. We believe education is the surest path to sustainable peace. Will you help?


To make a donation, click HERE. Please give generously. Your contribution will make a world of difference.

Spread the Word


The latest news from CAI is always available on our blog, CAI Communiqué
To stay up to date, sign up to receive an e-mail notice whenever the blog is updated.

And please forward this e-newsletter to any and all people you think share our hopes for peace through education. Thanks for helping us spread the word.



Central Asia Institute staff  


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