Fayette, Iowa (January 12, 2007) – Renowned author and women’s rights activist Nasrine Abou-Bakre Gross is scheduled to speak at Upper Iowa University on Tuesday, Jan. 30 at 7:00 p.m. in the Andres Center auditorium on the Fayette campus. The public is invited to attend free of charge.
The Afghan-American woman has written numerous books on how adult literacy is crucial to Afghanistan’s survival. According to Gross, an estimated 80 percent of men and 90 percent of women in Afghanistan are illiterate. In 2002, she launched a couple’s literacy project in her hometown of Kabul, Afghanistan. The project currently offers classes in elementary reading, writing and arithmetic to couples of all ages and ethnic background.
"Afghanistan and Afghans have been damaged so badly so many times in the past 30 years, and these people realize that one reason is they don’t know how to read and write," said Gross. "They have a consciousness that they really have fallen behind."
One of the biggest hurdles Gross encountered in getting her project off the ground was the perception that husbands would not allow their wives to enter the program. This prompted her to personally knock on doors and ask husbands if they would allow it, which they have. "At first, when they come, women sit together on one side of the room and men sit together on the other side," she says. "Then in a few months time, couples sit next to each other." Gross adds, "It’s so beautiful, husband and wife learning from each other."
Gross’ literacy project has been featured on CNN news and is the subject of a documentary by New York University social psychology professor Susan Andersen entitled, "Love Letters from Kabul."
To find out more about Nasrine Abou-Bakre Gross and her literacy project, go to www.kabultec.org.
A social and refreshments will immediately follow the lecture.