“When Toshiko Kitahara arrived in Ragh district in Badakhshan province, north-east Afghanistan, two things struck her: its natural beauty and the fact that girls did not attend school.
As a UN Volunteer with the World Food Programme (WFP), Toshiko decided to make girls’ education a priority. [She first arrived in Afghanistan in 2002 and started as a UN Volunteer in 2003.] A programme officer with WFP’s Food for Education unit in the province, the Japanese national took up her concern directly with department of education officials – and just about anyone else who would listen.
In meetings with the department, she learned that they did not have the resources to accommodate the 700 or so girls in the district and definitely no funds to construct a school. The majority of girls who were receiving an education were doing so in classrooms at boys’ schools, mosques and private homes – all scattered throughout as many as 16 different communities within the district.
With that information in hand, Toshiko started her self-driven campaign to build the first girls’ school in Ragh. Her quest for funds started in Afghanistan and crossed the globe before she arrived at enough money to have the project put in motion.” LINK