The Central Asia Institute (CAI) provides educational access to children and adults by building schools in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The mission of the foundation is to empower “communities of Central Asia through literacy and education, especially for girls, promote peace through education, and convey the importance of these activities globally.”
Bozeman resident Greg Mortensen, author of “Three Cups of Tea,” cofounded the CAI in 1996 after travelling to Pakistan and witnessing the remote, impoverished educational circumstances the people face.
Education is still a privilege instead of a right for many children around the world, and girls especially often never get the chance to attend school.
After visiting elementary, middle and high schools this winter to educate students about the educational circumstances in the countries of central Asia, the CAI started the Global Chalk Campaign (GCC) asa social media campaign to ask, “Why should education be a right for every child, rather than a privilege?” Now the CAI is inviting everyone, MSU students especially, to partner in that campaign
The primary goal is to remind everyone why education matters and why it must be a right for every child around the world.
Every day for six weeks, the campaign posts a new photo of a Bozeman student with a chalkboard and their answer on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. Framed pictures can also be found in several businesses around Bozeman, including International Coffee Traders, The Gem Gallery, Lockhorn Cider House and Red Tractor Pizza with more installments in other businesses planned in the upcoming months.
The answers of children are especially “creative, simple and powerful,” Sarah Webb, communications at CAI, said.
Since the campaign and CAI both started in Bozeman, the GCC wants to include more Bozeman voices, faces and ideas. Some students from the MSU leadership class, LS 301 Integrative Seminar, already participated in the campaign.
“We want to hear from you! Write your answer on a chalkboard (or a piece of paper) and post the photo on CAI’s social media pages. Join us in the global dialogue on the importance of education,” encouraged a brochure detailing the campaign.
Besides building schools, the CAI provides scholarships for students to help pay for their education, support local adults to become teachers, public health, women’s vocational and literacy centers, and global outreach. The CAI has initiated and supported 399 projects so far.
“Education should be a human right for everybody,” Webb said. Her goal is to get more people aware of the importance of these educational needs and activities and to “create sustainable and lasting change.”
On Saturday, April 26, there will be activities organized by the CAI and Red Tractor Pizza at the grand opening of Red Tractor Pizza from 4 – 8 p.m. Activities will include taking pictures for the Global Chalk Campaign.
For more information on the CAI visit ikat.org and for more information on the Global Chalk Campaign and upcoming activities visit facebook.com/globalchalkcampaign.