Many of you may have heard of a bestselling book a few years ago, “Three Cups of Tea.” I bought it online after seeing a random add for it in the online version of the LA Times. It seemed like something I would like. I’ll admit that the first few chapters were a little tough to get through, but once I got passionate about what this one man was trying to do, it was difficult to stop turning the pages to see if he was able to accomplish it! His idea was that what was needed in the Middle East was education, a lot of education. Greg’s main beneficiaries were girls who had so far been forbidden to go to school. Greg’s goal was to raise money to build schools for these girls, in remote villages in Pakistan and Afghanistan. These projects are all accomplished with the help of local community members: money is raised, but labor is provided by the parents of the children who will one day attend the school.

His book talks about the difficulty he had in raising the initial funds for his project and how it took off. This is where the Central Asia Institute (“CAI”) comes in. It’s a 501(c) nonprofit created by Greg to fundraise money to continue building schools in the Middle East. Since it’s inception, CAI has expanded its programs to include programs for women, to help them make money to support their families, and also sustainability for many of these villages who have never had running water, etc.

I encourage everyone to check out CAI’s website and to read the book. I encourage all teachers out there to look at the Pennies for Peace program, where school children can have a direct impact in fundraising and building schools for less fortunate children across the world.

Please let me know if you have any organizations in mind for next month’s Charity of the Month!