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High School Students Raise Funds for Afghan Schools

By Eileen Buckley

Buffalo, NY – Some Western New York high school students are working to raise funds to build a school for girls in Afghanistan.

High school students representing the Western New York Girl's Coalition gathered on the stage of Buffalo Seminary Wednesday morning. Some held up eight-by-ten photos of schools girls in Afghanistan. The coalition is made up of students from several all girl schools.

Three years ago, Clotilde Dedecker, now a senior at Nardin Academy, started the local effort. She was inspired to begin the project after hearing a speech at the Buffalo YWCA on the plight of Afghan women and girls. DeDecker says the project is about education and helping girls in Afghanistan overcome the devastation of the Taliban.

"They are the role models in this effort because they have undergone so much. They face extreme oppression," DeDecker said. "We hope to give them a sense that they are worth something and do have a future."

Veronica Couzo, a junior at Buffalo Seminary, says she believes rebuilding the schools offers the young women in Afghanistan some hope for their future.

"I also feel I am able to help them and give them an education," Couzo said. "It wasn't like they didn't have an education before, but it was taken away from them. That is horrible. I'm glad to be able to give back to them."

This Saturday, the students will hold a big car wash fundraiser at the Anderson's Ice Cream shop on Main Street in Williamsville. To date, the group has raised $27,000 for the cause -- all through car washes, school dances, jean days, bottle drives and bake sales. Last year the coalition raised $16,000 that helped rebuild the first school. But the group says the next school they are helping to build will cost about $50,000.