“How does a building prevent early marriage?” This is the question Ginna Brelsford poses to the audience at Sahar’s co-hosted event with Global Washington on Tuesday, August 28th 2018. “What is the role of a safe, beautiful, physical space?” she asks.
At the event, Sahar showed why it is “shining example” for small nonprofits. With an eloquent presentation, Ginna Brelsford, Dave Miller, and Afghan Fellow Shogofa Amini, shared both powerful statistics as well as personal anecdotes to illustrate the importance of Sahar’s work. “How are Girls’ Schools in Afghanistan Preventing Early Marriage?” The answer, as the presentation revealed, is in what lies deeper than just the building. It’s the work to train teachers and give girls skills to open the minds of their communities, ultimately breaking down years of barriers for women in Afghanistan. With Sahar’s new boarding school project, the opportunity to change lives and the future of Afghanistan’s next generation is here. With one school, Sahar creates a new model.
Dave Miller, the CEO of Miller Hull Architecture, has chosen to use his talents to support education for those who need it most. With Sahar’s latest building project in 2015, the Gawhar Khatoon school, Miller Hull and the UW School of Architecture partnered with Sahar to develop a culturally appropriate, practical, and ground-breaking design. So ground-breaking, in fact, that it received the AIA award for its success – one of the top awards in Architecture.
For Sahar’s Afghan fellow Shogofa Amini, everything and everyone around her seemed to be a barrier to an education. As she shares, her education was stopped for six years as a result of Taliban rule. “They couldn’t win,” she says. “I’m here today.” A story of persevering through obstacles and fighting against all odds is just one of many girls taking charge of their lives. With Sahar’s work already, 200,000 girls have been educated to date. These girls are changing their communities, and giving girls and young women the opportunities that everyone deserves. With this new boarding school, Sahar and Miller Hull are not only breaking ground architecturally: “When people drive by, they see a physical structure full of beauty,” says Ginna. “But also the power to change what can be done in Afghanistan.”
“Building partnerships is critical,” says Dave Miller. “The more we can do it in a peaceful way, the better we can do in the world.” Partnerships, like the one between Sahar and Miller Hull, allow for positive change in the world, and create opportunities for those who need them most. Through collaboration across cultural, ethnic, and occupational lines, the future can be made hopeful for every human. GlobalWA is an organization that highlights the power of working together, we are grateful for the opportunity to co-host this event. Also, thank you to Miller Hull Partnership for devoting time to a brighter tomorrow for Afghanistan’s young women.
-Charlotte Gong, Sahar Intern