Projects for Peace: The Vision of Kathryn W. Davis

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war."

Education for Peace

Project #
Luther College
  • Mustafa Muhammadi
  • Cheragh Ali Yazdani

Education for Peace

Amid the poverty, isolation and bitter cold in Afghanistan’s mountain-hemmed Bamyan Province, Paymori High School is tiny, about the size of an American mobile home, and it had no chairs, desks or benches. Students brought cushions, when they could, for sitting on the concrete floor. With their project, two Afghan students at Luther College, Cheragh Ali Yazdani and Mustafa Muhammadi, provided the school with new-built desks and library shelves — and when they saw that more was needed, they did more.

Before traveling to Afghanistan, Ali and Mustafa boosted their budget by an additional $5,811 through additional fundraising. Once in Bamyan, they met literally dozens of challenges, from corrupt local officials to a threat by the Taliban to an attack by a stranger on a motorbike that sent Mustafa back to Kabul for emergency care. But with protection from the governor of Bamyan, Ali persevered and saw the work through.

After contracting for new desks and library equipment, he hired a local builder to replace the school’s windows, and made a risky trip by land to Kabul for more supplies. Ali brought 12 whiteboards back from the capital, then spent four days clearing rocks from the school’s soccer and volleyball fields, and he provided cement for new school steps. At the end, the governor, head of police and other provincial officials joined the students for a ceremonial celebration.