Education is key to a successful society, and that is why Shabana Basij-Rasikh founded School of Leadership Afghanistan (SOLA) in 2008. Basij-Rasikh, now a leader and activist for women’s education, will speak at an event next month at the Northampton Valley Country Club.
The event, Girls Helping Girls, is being organized by local residents Kathy Feuerman and Mindy Schwartz. It will be held April 7 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. The cost to attend is $40 and proceeds support SOLA.
The girls-only fundraiser will feature shopping, dinner and a cash bar. Basij-Rasikh will talk about her struggle to obtain an education under the Taliban as well as her vision for the future of a world of empowered women.
Feuerman, a Newtown resident, said she learned of SOLA a year or so ago through a friend whose uncle co-founded the school with Basij-Rasikh. She later met Basij-Rasikh and was inspired by her message.
Basij-Rasikh is from Afghanistan and graduated from Middlebury College. Upon returning to Afghanistan, Basij-Rasikh saw a need to expand educational opportunities for women there. SOLA now has 35 students at its boarding house in Kabul.
According to SOLA’s website, students there receive academic preparation to attend schools abroad, from boarding schools to colleges and grad schools. SOLA students have attended the following schools: Bates, King's Academy Jordan, Middlebury, Mt. Holyoke, Smith, Tufts, Williams and Yale. SOLA also helps returning graduates obtain employment opportunities.