Meeting Minutes from InspireSeattle Social on May 22, 2010

InspireSeattle was privileged to have as our fourth speaker of the year Julia Bolz, founder of the Journey with an Afghan School” project.  Her story was not only educational but touching and inspiring. For those who may want to continue personal or group support, please see Julia’s  web site at  There you can help by making a tax-deductible contribution, by joining an existing “Journey with an Afghan School” initiative (e.g., providing school supplies to Afghan children), or by starting your own initiative group.   In addition, you can send a letter to Congress to co-sponsor legislation to create a New Global Fund for Education (click here for more information or to download a flyer).   Thank you to  Barbara Sardarov for organizing this event, Carrie for providing notes, and to both the Alki Congregational Church of Christ in West Seattle and the West Seattle Neighbors for Peace and Justice whose support made this event possible

"Assalam alaikum”


For 12 years Julia Bolz was a partner at a Seattle law firm but then she heard the call to leave her position to serve the poor. Since 2002, she has been responsible for building 18 schools and repairing another 20 to positively impact the lives of 25,000 kids.

Now she shares her time between Afghanistan and Seattle. When in Seattle, she spends her time educating folks here about the plight of the Afghan people. She is the voice of the voiceless.

Julie asked, “Who is an extremist and how do they become that way?” She then explained that half of our world (>3 billion people) live on less than $2 a day. From poverty comes anger, frustration and desperation. In Afghanistan the median age is 17, with 45% of the population under 15. The majority of these young folks have neither education, nor any chance at education. The country lacks basic infrastructure and 1 in 4 die before the age of 5.

“How has the US addressed extremism? With sanctions, the installation of a puppet government, occupation, CIA operatives and wiretapping.  What can work better? Agricultural reform, micro-financing, clean water and education.

Afghanistan is about the size of Texas and has 30 million people.

Julia has focused on the northwest section of the Afghanistan, near the Silk Road. This region is the melting pot of Afghanistan and thus fosters tolerance. Julia works to garner local support and commitment for the schools. In other regions of Afghanistan come stories of schools being burned to the ground and teachers beheaded by extremists yet not one incident of such atrocities has come to any of Julia’s schools.  Teaching has become a prestigious position and the ministry supplies both the teachers and their salary at $50 per month. Julie has been broadening this support by partnering local Seattle schools with schools in Afghanistan.

Education has already brought significant change. Girls now talk about being teachers or even the minister of education when they grow up.  Most importantly, many students now talk about having a country that is not dependent on foreign aid.

Julia also talked about a young girl who was forbidden to go to school by her father.  In spite of this she would sneak out of the house and attend school even though it could cost her her life. One day her father received a letter from a relative. He could not read it, nor could anyone else in his family. His daughter came forward and read the letter. Her father then embraced her and allowed her to go to school.

Very simply, Julia gives hope.

"Assalam alaikum”




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Speaker: Julia Bolz

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