Chicago dad Dusty Huscher speaks with pride about his
college-aged daughter. But he's also filled with pride for the
other 23 girls he has helped attend college this year.
Huscher has spent the past six years making sure girls in
Afghanistan have a chance to attend school. Working with the
humanitarian organization CARE, Huscher has traveled
to Khost Province to help oversee schools for girls in rural
"There are very limited opportunities for girls beyond
sixth grade in rural areas," Huscher says. "Secondary
education is somewhat novel there. While primary education is
necessary, finishing the sixth grade only is basic literacy and
numeracy; it doesn't alter their lives like a secondary education
This year 23 of the girls who started with the program in
seventh grade are attending universities, most studying to be
doctors and nurses, thanks to a scholarship program Huscher
underwrote. The schools Huscher works with all are funded by
private donations and run by local Afghan women.
The money and effort he and others have invested will make
a long-term difference in the country, he says.
"Afghan families place such a high value on family and the
extended family that it's likely they'll go back to their
communities," Huscher says. "It will raise the status
of women within the community and also will establish health care
in the communities, which essentially doesn't exist."
Huscher travels to Afghanistan once or twice a year and
has made it a family affair-he recently brought his daughter, who
now is a freshman in college.
He also works with the Turquoise Mountain Foundation,
helping redevelop the heart of the old city of Kabul. "We ran
electricity to homes, ran water into homes, we established a
primary school and a family health clinic," he says.
The organization also works with traditional Afghan arts and
Huscher is quick to note that the accomplishments of the
programs aren't from his efforts. "It's being attuned to the local
community and giving them a sense of ownership," he
says. "We don't need to tell the Afghans what they need. They can
tell us what they need and we can help them provide it."
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.
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