What is it like to build a school in rural Afghanistan? In this Adventure from TEDx, you will hear the personal journey of Dr. Mohammad Khan Kharoti, a speaker at TEDxConcordiaUPortland 2013, through the documentary,
Stealing the Light
, which details the creation and destruction of a school in the country's Helmand Province. You will also hear a presentation by Mohammad on the rebuilding of the school this past year and a reading of letters exchanged between TEDx attendees and Afghan students of the Advanced Education Center which Mohammad operates in Lashkar Gah, the capital city of the same province.
Mohammad Khan Kharoti
was born in 1943 in Zabul Province, Afghanistan and up to the age of seven lived in a nomadic caravan. In 1950 his parents settled on land in Helmand Province. A year later he did something no one else in his village had ever done; he started primary school.
His education continued in Lebanon and at Coe College in the US before he returned to Afghanistan for medical school. He worked as a general surgeon in Lashkar Gah until 1987 when he was forced to flee with his family to Pakistan. There he worked for Mercy Corps and the American Consulate treating wounded Mjuahideen and Afghan refugees.
In 1989 he moved with his family to Portland, Oregon, working first at a cast tech at Kaiser Permanente before retraining as a Nuclear Medicine Technician. He worked in this capacity for Kaiser and SW Washington Medical Center until his retirement in 2011.
A community of medical staff and patients helped Mohammad start an NGO, Green Village Schools, to build a school in Shin Kalay where he was raised. The school grew to 1200 students, including 400 girls, by 2008 when it was destroyed. While continuing reconstruction of the school with the help of Afghan Appeal in London, he has started an Advanced Education Center in Lashkar Gah to improve English language and computer literacy of Afghan students and teachers. He will devote the rest of his life to these projects.
To read more about Mohammad Khan Kharoti and see his TEDx Talk at TEDxConcordiaUPortland 2013 visit his profile