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Alumni Leadership Award winner works to improve education in Afghanistan


Acid is thrown in the faces of girls on their way to school. A father is shot for encouraging his daughter to get an education. A school is hit with a rocket. Students witness the murder of their teacher. Stories like these are common in Afghanistan. Rather than being discouraged by such acts of violence against those who stand up for the right to education, human rights advocate Lauryn Oates is more motivated than ever. “One group of people that really inspires me is all the martyrs to education – all the teachers, students, principals and parents that have been killed because they’ve been targeted by the Taliban specifically for educating girls,” says Oates, Royal Roads University spring 2013 Alumni Leadership Award winner. Oates, who is projects director for Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan (CW4WAfghan) and a freelance consultant, is particularly inspired by the resilience and determination of the 15 female students and teachers who were victims of an acid attack in 2008. All of the wounded went back to school following their recovery.

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