My friend Shiza Shahid has spent this summer working on a retreat for schoolgirls of the Swat Valley after the Taliban prevented them from attending school. CNN has the report on it.
School-age girls are among the victims in the fierce fighting between government soldiers and Taliban militants in the Swat Valley. The Pakistani government said it has flushed much of the Taliban out of the area, but some fighting persists.
Many girls remain banned from schools. Dozens of their schools have been bombed, and militants have burned books.
A new program has taken 26 girls out of the battle-scarred region to Islamabad for a 10-day retreat, where they can learn in safer surroundings.
A group of college students of Pakistani background is helping the girls. Among them are Shiza Shahid, 20, from California’s Stanford University, who organized the program called Shajar-e-llm, or Tree of Knowledge.
Shiza’s an extraordinary young woman, but she’s in good company with these brave schoolgirls. Do check out the story. (Although I’m not sure why he pronounces her name “Sheeeeeza” and there’s a strange moment of black and white video — I guess for that “art house” effect.)