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CCA teacher helps raise money to support schooling for Afghan girls

Timothy Stiven's students Zoomed with students in Afghanistan earlier this year.
(Courtesy)

A Canyon Crest Academy teacher has been raising money through a GoFundme page to support girls in Afghanistan who want to continue their schooling with the country under Taliban rule.

“The girls still want to be educated, and I’m doing all I can to make sure that happens,” said Tim Stiven, a history teacher who connected his class with Afghan students earlier this school year via Zoom.

Girls have been discreetly attending afterschool academies for the past several months since the new Taliban-led government has banned many of them from schools. The New York Times reported in October that middle school and high school girls in one of the country’s northern regions have been able to resume their schooling, but others throughout Afghanistan have not been as fortunate.

Stiven said the fundraising goal is $2,000 to help their schooling continue through the winter. Sixteen contributors have raised about $1,000 so far.

When CCA began its school year in August, the students in Stiven’s class heard from their counterparts in Afghanistan, who described what life was like following the U.S. troop withdrawal.

“It is just amazing how similar these kids are, and at the same time what a different world they live in,” Stiven said at the time.

He added, “It’s one thing to study history, it’s another to be a part of history.”

“I think that’s sinking in, that history doesn’t happen in textbooks, history happens all around us all the time,” said Stiven, reflecting on the impact the issue has had on his class over the past several months. “Having 16 year olds become aware of that will make them better citizens. It’s not an assignment, it’s personal.”

There haven’t been Zoom meetings with Afghan students since August, Stivens said, because it’s too dangerous. But he has been in contact with a professor in Afghanistan who has been working to make sure girls can pursue their education.

“He’s really depressed that the girls are starting to give up on their education, and so he wants to give them a reason to continue their education,” Stiven said. “So I’m working with another group of students called Women in STEM, that’s an international organization. We’re trying to figure out if we can create a certificate that we can send to the girls in Afghanistan that would give them something to work for, to strive for.”

For more information on the fundraiser, visit gofundme.com/f/friends-of-the-learning-academy.


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