Our Founders

Julia Bolz, Founder of Sahar

The founder of “Journey with an Afghan School” and Sahar Education International, Julia travelled to Afghanistan 16 times and raised funds to build, equip and repair schools there. She also partnered with local and international entities to identify specific tangible needs; research sustainable and effective solutions; and provide advice and expertise on development, legal and human rights issues. Julia established relationships with Afghan government, religious and community leaders; facilitating exchanges; developing cross-cultural curriculum; bringing U.S. teams to Afghanistan; and hosting Afghans in the United States. Julia is a nationally-recognized speaker and social justice advocate, who is dedicated to engaging, educating, and empowering the poor in the developing world.

In 1998, she traded a successful, international law career to help people in the world’s most impoverished regions amend discriminatory laws, procure loans, establish businesses, and negotiate political challenges. A graduate of Smith College and Northwestern University School of Law, Julia is a powerful voice for those otherwise not heard. Among other things, she has been featured on the Hallmark Channel, and she was a recipient of A Fund for Women’s Fabulous Firsts Award for “Women Who Led the Way,” Smith College’s Rally Day Award, and the Thomas C. Wales Foundation Award for courageous civic engagement, leadership, and passionate citizenship. She was awarded the World Affairs Council (Seattle) highest award for global citizenship. Julia resigned as an Sahar Board Member in October 2011.

Michael Johnson, Founding Board Member

Mike exemplifies the work of Sahar to build bridges of understanding between Afghanistan and US communities. A founding Sahar Board member, Mike and his wife Nan started supporting “Journey with an Afghan School” in 2005. In addition to raising funds to build and supply two schools in Afghanistan, he engaged his entire community through schools, book groups, Rotary and scouts. In the fall of 2008, he traveled to Afghanistan with a team from Crested Butte to attend the dedication of a new school for 1,500 girls. Mike served on the Sahar Board from 2009-2012.

Angi Proctor, Founding Board Member

Angi worked diligently to spread the message of change through educating a girl. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, Angi grew up in a family with a heart for social justice. Angi was the second woman and youngest person ever elected to the Birmingham City Council, where she served two terms. Among other appointments, she also served as Chair of the Citizen’s Advisory Board that spearheaded the development of a new community school system for adult education. With her church in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, Angi has collected money and supplies to help build a school for over 1,000 girls in Afghanistan, and she has nurtured a strong relationship between her California community and Afghans.

Kathryn Linehan, Founding Board Member

Kat’s extensive background in communications was a key asset to Sahar as it crafted its message about its work. As a founding Board member, she produced videos and media pieces highlighting Sahar’s “Journey with an Afghan School.” Working to bring awareness of social justice issues to a wider audience, Kathryn orchestrated the largest festival of youth-made movies in 2000 with broadcast on HBO and Nickelodeon. She produced “Children of Afghanistan”, the short documentary that screened at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival, heralded by the LA Times as, “as one of the most compelling stories of the festival.”