Razia’s Ray of Hope

Book Summary: 

When a young girl in Afghanistan named Razia hears about a new school for girls being built in her city, she immediately asks her family for permission to attend.  Her brother and other family members refuse permission and note her need to work at home helping out the family.  Razia wanders by the almost finished school and by chance meets the teacher.  The teacher comes home with Razia to persuade her family to allow her to attend.  After the teacher’s visit and once the family learns that a wall will be built around the school for security, Razia’s family grants her permission to attend.  The book ends with Razia at school.      

Liz Suneby
Suana Verelst
Kids Can Press
Guiding Question: 

This story demonstrates that education is not available to all females around the world. What are some of the family’s objections to Razia attending school? 

Howard’s Format from You Can’t Teach What You Don’t Know (73-85): 

Honesty- In many cultures, people believe that females and males should be treated equally, though not always exactly the same. This is not the case for every culture. Do you believe there's a good reason for females not to be educated? Razia had family members who both were both for and against her attendance at school. What were the arguments for and against her attending school? Were you surprised by some of the members who supported her? Why or why not?

Empathy- Think about the activities and tasks that you do each day.  What would be difficult to do if you did not know how to read?

Advocacy- Razia is from Afghanistan, but girls in many other countries do not have access to education.  According to UNICEF, in 2013 an estimated 31 million girls of primary school age were not in school. Find another country where access to education for girls is limited and describe the barriers to education that girls face there. Are they the same or different from the ones Razia faced?  

Action- This fictional story is based on the experiences of a real woman named Razia Jan who returned to her home country of Afghanistan from the United States to assist her people after September 2001. In 2007, she founded Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation to improve the lives of young women and girls through education. Go to the Foundation’s website. What are ways in which you might help girls in Afghanistan receive assistance with their educations?