Stones Into Schools by Greg Mortenson This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

May 8, 2010
Have you ever wanted to change the world? Stones Into Schools by Greg Mortenson is a touching true account filled with inspiration.

The best way to summarize Mortenson's book is with an African Proverb from the introduction: “If you teach a boy, you educate an individual; but if you teach a girl, you educate a community.” This quote changed Mortenson's life and shaped his beliefs. The main educational purpose of the Central Asia Institute (CAI) that he founded is to change education for young women, who can in turn slowly improve their society by earning money for their families and passing on their knowledge and skills to others.

Throughout Stones Into Schools, Mortenson summarizes his first book, Three Cups of Tea, by introducing his team at CAI, sharing how he started CAI, and listing some of their major projects. Then he recounts some recent successes, including expanding the project in Afghanistan to include Pakistan after the 2005 earthquake by building earthquake-safe schools and other initiatives. This book has maps, pictures, and quotes for each chapter that show the CAI's work.

One of my favorite stories describes Mortenson's daughter and her way of changing the world at a young age. “One evening Amira posed a question, ‘Hey Dad,' she asked, ‘what kinds of games do the children in your Kashmir school play?'” When Mortenson admitted he didn't know, she told him that, “[you] should get those kids some jump ropes.” When he didn't answer, she went on, “Dad, you don't have any playgrounds in your schools.” So Amira got to work and rounded up some jump ropes. And Mortenson went on to build playgrounds at all the schools, all because of one inspired girl and her passion for changing the world, one school at a time, a trait she clearly inherited from her father.

While we in the U.S. take education for granted, people in less prosperous countries are yearning for it. Stones into Schools opens your eyes to the harsh realities of life around the world and teaches you that everyone can do something to help. You don't have to start your own CAI; just support what you believe in – like your community or schools – by participating in fundraisers. You too can change the world, one day at a time.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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