When seventeen-year-old Molly Friedman discovered how difficult it is for a young Afghan woman to get an education, she knew she had to help. Raised in a small coastal town north of Boston, Molly explained that “problems like these are known but not elaborated on.”
In order to address this issue, Molly decided to host a fundraiser to benefit Barakat’s Girls Scholarship Program, aiming to both increase awareness within her community and raise money for one of Barakat’s students. With the help of thirty classmates at her high school, Molly planned and organized “An Acoustic Afternoon,” a benefit concert featuring local bands and a raffle for food and prizes. In addition to students and parents, many community members attended the event, which was held on a crisp, fall day.
Molly and her classmates raised more than $1,000 that afternoon, which they donated towards one of Barakat’s scholarship students named Surayya. Their ultimate goal is to raise $2,000 to completely fund the selected student’s education. They will raise more money through their winter fundraiser-candy cane grams that students can buy and have delivered to another student at school-as well as a third fundraiser in the spring. Molly has received a lot of positive feedback from classmates and community members alike and hopes to continue her work by sharing Surayya’s story with her community.
Meanwhile, the same issue that inspired Molly resonated strongly with the students at Newton Country Day School, located just outside of Boston. After learning about Barakat over the summer, the sophomore class chose to dedicate itself to Barakat’s cause by raising money for the Girls Scholarship Program. After an informational presentation from Program Director Arti Pandey, the students decided to sell bracelets reading Sowat Hayati a phrase that translates to “literate for life”.
Taylor McCarthy, one of the sophomore class officers, reflected on why her class feels so strongly about Barakat’s cause. She explained, “As an all girls’ school, we wanted to encourage women to receive an education, have dreams and chase after them.” Due to the hard work, support and dedication of young women like Molly and the students at Newton Country Day School, Barakat’s scholarship students will continue to have the opportunity to pursue their dreams of obtaining an education.
Story by Zoe Schlag. Photo of Molly Friedman by Rachel Jones.