As of last week, there's a new primary school in Afghanistan, thanks to the Penguin Group, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the US Association for the UNHCR. Penguin calls the school, which it helped to build, a "tribute to American booksellers, librarians, and educators who supported Khaled Hosseini's ... bestselling novels, 'The Kite Runner' and 'A Thousand Splendid Suns.' "
The school, which will serve 270 students from grades one to six, is located in Arababshirali, about 150 miles from Kabul, in Kunduz Province. The schoolhouse has six classrooms and is staffed by six teachers, four women and two men. About a third of the students enrolled are girls.
Susan Petersen Kennedy, said: "Changing the world can sometimes start with a single act of kindness. Our hope is that this new school is one of those acts."
Khaled Hosseini, who, in 2006 was named a US envoy to the UNHCR said, "Novels evoke universal human experiences. They are uniquely suited to create empathy and understanding between people of different cultural and religious backgrounds. Over the past few years, I have been humbled by the outpouring of empathy and compassion from my readers for the people of my homeland. It is a great honor to me when readers write me to say that they have found a personal connection to Afghanistan and the suffering of its people through my novels. To me, this school is the physical expression of that connection."
In honor of the school's opening last week, Penguin gave more than 350 U. booksellers, libraries and teachers personalized certificates that read, “Some novels make a world of difference,” signed by Hosseini.