What can one teen do in the face of a major social issue, in this case the need for more teachers, training, supplies and schools for women in Afghanistan? As it turns out, quite a lot, at least if that teen is Alaina Podmorow of Kelowna, British Columbia.
In 2006 Padmorow listened to Sally Armstrong’s stories about the barriers Afghani girls face in their efforts to gain access to education. Armstrong was speaking on behalf of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan. Since 1996 they had been raising funds to create awareness of and support women’s rights in Afghanistan.
Learning that $750 would pay a teacher’s salary for a year, the 9-year-old Podmorow recognized something she could do. Within a month she had raised $2,000 and galvanized a group of girls who wanted to help her raise more. They formed the core of Little Women for Little Women in Afghanistan, launched in spring 2007. They have been raising funds ever since.
Every dollar they make is sent to Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, which in turns sends the entire amount to Afghanistan. The dollars are used to train teachers, pay salaries, fund mobile library kits, and buy school supplies.
In July 2012 the 15-year-old Podmorow spoke at TEDxKelowna, encouraging her listeners to believe in themselves and to engage in change.
Podmorow walks that talk. Since 2007 Little Women has raised about $375,000 and inspired other groups to form in Canada and the U.S.
Whatever Podmorow chooses to do with her studies and professional life, she is already a change maker. She gives me hope.