Swat Girls Get a Haven in Islamabad

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.)

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