<a href="https://www.greenlifestylemag.com.au/blogs/rebecca#">Home, Garden and Planet</a>

Home, Garden and Planet

Rebecca Blackburn on the trials, and triumphs of being green around the home.

Can just one person make a difference?

Indian girls

The Central Asia Insitute (CAI) is a not for profit which promotes community based education in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Credit: Central Asia Insitute

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I’m a great fan of inspirational stories and I have just finished reading a good one - Three cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.

It’s a terrific tale of mountaineer Greg Mortenson, who after a failed attempt at K2 finds himself in a remote village in the corner of Pakistan. Touched by the villagers hospitality he decides to return to build a school.

By paying only for the materials and using the collective labor of villagers, he was able to construct the school for half of what it costs the Pakistan government.

Now, ten years later, he has built 64 schools and his model for delivering development is all the talk in foreign aid circles.

Greg seems to be a bit out of the ordinary – after all he was an outstanding mountaineer before he started building schools. But I have a friend who did something similar and I assure you he is not that different to you or I.

A few years ago my friend and his wife went on an expedition in Ethiopia. While staying at a remote village my friend noticed that the school was simply a patch of dirt under a tree.

He went to the village chief and told him he would like to give him some money to build a school. The chief asked him “ How will you know that I will spend it on the school?”

The chief advised my friend to come to the markets with him so that together they could buy the materials for the school. A year later he got a photo of the one room schoolhouse built by the village.

Since then participants from subsequent expedition trips have contributed to funding the school, which has now grown to three-rooms.

We don’t all get the opportunity to trek in remote regions of the world and build schoolhouses but what can we do in our own lives that will make a difference?