It's the time of year, no matter where we are in the world, when so many of us pause to give thanks for the good things we have -- and to set resolutions to make change in the year to come.
It's no different at SOLA. We look back on the profound transformation experienced in Afghanistan this summer, and our response to it. On August 1, we were bringing students back to Kabul from their semester break. On August 30, we were marking our 2nd day of classes overseas, having successfully brought nearly 250 members of our campus community -- students, faculty and families -- out of Afghanistan to our new campus in the nation of Rwanda.
And in Rwanda we remain. Classes are in session. Our students are learning. And we have not wavered in our resolve: SOLA is, and always will be, a place for Afghan girls to grow into the women who will set a peaceful course for their nation's future.
We've come to the successful completion of the 1st semester of the school year and the start of the Eid holidays. Our students are safe. Our community is safe. Our commitment to them is unwavering.
In a conversation for The New Yorker Radio Hour and in an essay published by Just Security, our president Shabana Basij-Rasikh has spoken powerfully this month about the days that lie ahead. "When I say that education," she writes, "particularly girls' education, is the lever that will raise Afghanistan above extremism and into a peaceful and prosperous future, I'm not speaking of a belief I hold alone." She's right. We know it's your belief too, and that's something that brings so much hope as we set our course across an unsettled summer.
You are a part of SOLA, and we're so happy that you're with us.
Spring is here, and the first day of school approaches.
As some of you know, the Afghan academic calendar follows a March-December schedule; the end of winter means the start of the school year, and this year, for the first time in our history, SOLA will be a school of grades 6-11. More than 90 Afghan girls will join us in 2021, and they will all take their classes remotely.
We are, as you read these words, in the final stages of the admissions process that will yield the largest total enrollment we've ever had; we are also, as you read these words, in the midst of a month-long matching challenge. A generous donor is matching every dollar raised through March 31 up to $5,000 -- when you give this month, your impact is doubled.
In the Pashto language, the word "sola" means "peace." This word is our mission and our goal, and in Afghanistan in 2021, this word matters more than ever.
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