Greg Mortenson – A Hero of Education

journeymortenson.jpgI’ve just finished reading Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin. It was given to me by a good friend who said I would be inspired by it. She was right. I’ve included his hero’s journey on the List of Journeys page that has been growing rapidly due to Steve’s alphabetical list.

Mortenson’s youngest sister, Christa, died in 1992, prompting him to make an attempt on K2 to leave her necklace on the summit. After participating in an arduous rescue on the mountain that saved a man’s life Mortenson was unable to continue the ascent and headed down. He got lost twice and ended up in remote village called Korphe. The residents there housed him and allowed him to recover in his own time. As repayment, Mortenson promised to build a school for the town and their highly undereducated children, especially the girls.

After finding a generous benefactor in America named Jean Hoerni, Mortenson returned to Pakistan and the village of Korphe. Once there he had to deal with jealous village leaders, the customs of northern Pakistan, and the harsh weather of the area. And that was just to get the school of Korphe built. He went on to build more than forty schools in Northern Pakistan and Afghanistan over fifteen years and is still going as the head of the Central Asia Institute. During that time he was kidnapped and imprisoned in the tribal Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan, had two fatwehs called on him by leaders who opposed him educating girls, and survived a gun battle between drug lords in Afghanistan. Perhaps most difficult of all was leaving his wife and two children every year while he worked overseas.

Mortenson continues to champion the education of children in the tempestuous areas around the western Himalaya. His work helps to bring understanding along with education to children who may otherwise be caught up in extremist causes in a Muslim world. He also educates Westerners on the needs of these impoverished people, helping reduce the extremist view of Islam that plagues the Western world.

You can learn more about his work and the charities at the following websites.

Central Asia Institute
Three Cups of Tea
Pennies for Peace

You can buy the book through the Hero Workshop Amazon affiliate store by clicking here and searching for Three Cups of Tea.

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  1. Charities « The Hero Workshop - December 18, 2007

    […] to donate to the Central Asia Institute because there’s a hero at its core. I wrote about Greg Mortenson last […]