Dr. Betsy Emerick was awarded the 2015 Women of the World Award by 5050 Leadership and the United Nations Association (Pasadena Chapter) for her work with our schools. Laura Loftsgaarden produced this video for the Women of the World Awards ceremony. 

"Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope."

- Kofi Annan, 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations

Why educate girls?

Afghan Refugee Primary Girls' Schools • A Community Self-Help Project

There is no doubt that teaching children to read changes their lives. There are so many imponderables about influencing social change. When you change one thing, it often changes everything around it, and not always for the good. You go in thinking you know, only to discover that you don't know. Yet this seems about as pure as it gets: Teaching girls to read and write is a good thing.


Research data focused on developing nations* bears this out:

  • Educated girls marry later and bear fewer children.
  • Children born to educated mothers are twice as likely to survive past the age of five. 
  • An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent. 
  • When 10 percent more girls go to school, a country’s GDP increases on average by three percent. 


Our schools are celebrating their 13th anniversary this year. Former students – most of whom are the first generation of literate women in their families – will soon be sending their daughters to the schools they attended. With an education, who knows how far the next generation will go?

- School Liaison Betsy K. Emerick, PhD

57% of Afghan girls marry before the legal age of 16

Life expectancy for Afghan Women is

44 years

Afghan Girls' Schools 

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AGS is under the auspices of Orange Grove Monthly Meeting - a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.

*Statistics provided by Girl Rising.

Dr. Betsy K. Emerick began working with the Afghan Refugee Girls Schools in 2004 and has made six trips to Pakistan to oversee the project. Her passion for education is evident in a career that spans all levels: K-12 through Higher Education. Dr. Emerick has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UCLA and has taught everything from second grade to middle school to Italian and English/American literature at Pitzer, Reed, Pomona, and Dickinson Colleges. She taught English to Italians in Rome and Italian to Americans at Scripps College. In 2001, she took early retirement from Dickinson College where she was Vice-President for Student Affairs and Associate Professor of English. Dr. Emerick received the 2015 Women of the World Award from 5050 Leadership and the United Nations Association (Pasadena Chapter) for her work with our schools. (See video below.)

The average Afghan woman will bear 7.4 children

When you educate a girl...

Afghan literacy rates are ESTIMATED AT 31% for men and 15% for women