Dear SOLA friends--
These past several weeks have been a time of great sadness and great excitement at SOLA -- a time of farewells, and a time of bright futures.
In August, we marked the passing of SOLA's co-founder, Ted Achilles. Ted and SOLA's president, Shabana Basij-Rasikh, created SOLA in 2008 while Shabana was still a college student. Ted lived life in all senses of the word -- his obituary in the New York Times does a wonderful job of capturing the essence of the man -- and we won't forget his smile, his optimism, and his belief in the promise and potential of Afghanistan.
The same belief that drove Ted drives all of us at SOLA, and it provides the backbone to one of the most exciting times of the year: recruitment season for our next class of 6th graders. We've begun the recruiting process that will culminate in March 2019, when approximately 15 Afghan girls walk through our doors for the first time as students.
I'm glad to have had this opportunity to connect with you: it's your generosity that's so far raised nearly $7,500 for our current class of 6th graders; it's your generosity that's allowed us to make 2018 such a memorable year for each of them.
You are the reason we can do what we do. Thank you.
With summer here and vacation season upon us, we wanted to take a moment to bring you a quick update from our campus, where school is still in session -- and where wonderful things have been happening.
As you know, our new 6th grade class joined us in March. For many of them, this has been their first time away from their families, and our older students have been endlessly creative in finding ways to make them feel at home at SOLA -- but they outdid themselves for our celebration of International Children's Day in early June.
Of course, this is always a special day at SOLA, but this year, our older students took the lead in designing a surprise party for our 6th graders: decorating our campus, preparing gift boxes, and even baking a cake for their younger classmates. We hope the photos below help give you a feeling for the excitement, and the joy, of that day.
You've helped us raise more than $7,000 for our students (and counting), and we are truly grateful for your support. Whether you're a one-time donor or a recurring giver, you are the reason we are able to do what we do -- and you can give with confidence, knowing that SOLA has earned a 2018 Gold Seal of Transparency on GuideStar.
Thank you again for your generosity and your time. We look forward to bringing you many more stories from SOLA as the year continues.
Director of Communications, SOLA
We asked, you answered -- and then some.
Last month, we invited you to join SOLA in our first-ever crowdfunding challenge. Our goal: raise $5,000 for our incoming class of 6th graders, and do it in only 3 weeks. I am thrilled to tell you that, as of this writing, we stand at nearly $6,700 raised. Your response has inspired us to keep our fundraising project up and running across the school year, with the hope of making 2018 one of the most memorable in SOLA's history.
The news of your incredible generosity reached the SOLA campus at a remarkable moment: just days earlier, on the first day of school, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and First Lady Rula Ghani had awarded SOLA co-founder Shabana Basij-Rasikh the Malalai Medal. This medal is named for a woman who is one of Afghanistan's national heroes, and is given for achievement in the push for women's rights -- what an extraordinary way for our new students to start their school year.
On behalf of Shabana, and everyone at SOLA, I want to thank you for your support. We're going to have so much more SOLA news to share as the year continues -- I hope you'll consider following Shabana (@sbasijrasikh) and SOLA (@solaafghanistan) on Twitter and liking us on Facebook, and I invite you to visit our website where you can subscribe to our newsletter.
"SOLA" is more than just an acronym. "Sola" is the Pashto word for "peace," and that's what we're working toward every day. Thank you, again, for all you've given and all you've done to help us toward our destination.
Director of Communications, SOLA
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