News World

A Better World hoping to build more classrooms

Emily Cochrane Globe Staff
A Better World photo

A Better World photo

Azalea Lehndorff, a young humanitarian with Lacombe-based charity A Better World (ABW) has been striving to improve the lives of girls and women in Afghanistan and will be returning there next month to continue her work.

This time she will be going on an extended trip that could last up to a year. The contract for this trip is for nine months, but if all goes well, Lehndorff may stay for 12.

"My role will be to dig up more funding," said Lehndorff.

The first three months will be a trial period where Lehndorff will network and attend meetings with those in the international donor community to try to secure donations and grants for the 100 classrooms project.

The project is a three-year plan to build 100 classrooms in Jawzjan Province in Afghanistan so that children there will be able to gain an education.

So far, ABW, with Lehndorff's fundraising efforts, has been able to build two schools, which together supply 24 classrooms.

The entire project of 100 classrooms will cost $900,000.

So far, $375,00 has been raised and only $20,000 more is needed for construction to begin on the next two schools.

Lehndorff is hoping the last bit of funding will be raised before she leaves for Afghanistan in mid-October.

She will be speaking at College Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church Oct. 8 at 9:15 a.m. and 11:45 a.m. to try to raise funds.

"People often wonder why I would want to do something like this so I will be going back a little bit to my own story."

Central Alberta has been very supportive of the 100 classroom project, with most of the major donations coming from this area, said Lehndorff.

If ABW is successful in securing the additional $20,000, construction could begin on the new schools as early as November.

Everything is ready to go, including blueprints and budget plans, said Lehndorff.

All the schools that are waiting to be built already have students. Classes are currently being held in tents or degraded buildings.

Of the next two schools to be built, one has 1,000 students and the other has more than 800, neither of which currently has a proper building.

While in Afghanistan, Lehndorff and ABW will focus on training teachers on methodology, putting libraries in the existing schools and possibly exploring income generation projects for women.

If the first three months prove to be productive, Lehndorff will stay and continue working on the various initiatives for about another six months.

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