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Central Asia Institute

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: International, International Development, International Relief

Mission: We empower communities of Central Asia through literacy and education, especially for girls; to promote peace through education; and to convey the importance of these activities globally.

Results: Central Asia Institute was started in 1996. Since then we have built 189 schools, supported 120 schools, 65 vocational & literacy programs, 14 community programs, 37 public health programs, 11 scholarship programs, and 14 teacher support programs. This past year we positively impacted over 100,000 people through CAI supported programs.

Target demographics: empowering girls and women in Central Asia

Geographic areas served: Afghanistan, Pakistan, & Tajikistan

Programs: We build schools, provide ongoing support to schools and children, women's vocational centers & literacy programs, public health programs, community programs, teacher training programs and scholarship programs.

Community Stories

84 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

The way to make the world a better place is to focus on the educational system of children. Thank you CAI for your intentions and efforts!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been donating to CAI since 2007. It has been wonderful seeing their growth and continued commitment to girl's education!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I truly believe in the mission of the Central Asia Institute . The work that this organization is doing in Pakistan, Afghanistan and other developing countries to provide education and advancement opportunities for girls and young women is remarkable. When girls and women are empowered and educated, the quality of life in a community improves for everyone. As a woman in the US who has access to education, money and influence, I stand with my sisters across the world in hopes that all women can experience a better quality of life for their families and their communities. Congratulations Central Asia Institute for the fantastic work you are doing to improve the quality of life for women, families and communities.

Donor

Rating: 5

I wanted to be a part of this organization as soon as I read Greg's book, Three Cups of Tea. I bought the book as a birthday gift to myself and after reading it I wrote a brief note within the cover encouraging it's future readers to support education for girls through CAI. I then sent the book out into the world and initiated a regular contribution plan myself to help fund the CAI schools.

Donor

Rating: 5

We've set up our donations to Central Asia Institute to be deducted monthly automatically. This ensures we continue to support this admirable, far reaching, non profit organization. With two daughters of our own, we feel good about making education a reality for girls in challenging environments.

Donor

Rating: 5

With all the talk in this election cycle about “winning the war on terrorism”, very little has been said about fostering peace. CAI has determined that the best way to foster peace is through providing education to people who need it, especially women and children. This has been their focus since the beginning, and I couldn’t be prouder to support. If your tax dollars go to fighting wars, send your donation dollars to create peace. And, perhaps, with this model, we could better educate our own population and elect enlightened leaders to instill real peace throughout the world!

Donor

Rating: 5

CAI against difficulties both internal and external has succeeded beyond expectations. My wife and I have been regular supporters of CAI since reading "THREE CUPS OF TEA". Education of girls is the key to peace. No one has done more with less in this area than CAI.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The work done by CAI is critical to improving the health of the populations in the areas they serve. Educating girls in particular decreases family sizes, increases maternal age at first birth, and increases rates of vaccination and extended breastfeeding. Providing education for children allows them to envision a future in which they can surpass the roles their culture would place them in. It allows local children to become nurses, doctors, and engineers who return to serve their home villages. Please continue to support this critical work.
Eric Holden PA, DHSc
Doctor of Health Science & Global Health
CAI Monthly Donor

Sharon192

Donor

Rating: 5

I think the future of the human race depends on educated people and so was drawn by the effort to educate girls and women to better care for families. I appreciate the efforts to include young school children in more advantageous circumstances to participate as well. The beautifully illustrated reports are very informative. I feel that my contributions can really make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

Donor

Rating: 5

We were looking for a group that was helping in an area of need that wasn't being addressed by other organizations. CAI was the only group that we were aware of that was helping girls get an education in some of the remotest villages on the planet. CAI has been a consistent and growing presence in helping these villages set up schools where there had been none. CAI has been there to help the villages rebuild their schools when nature has shaken them to the ground. Their efforts and those of the villages they are helping have over time born the fruit of educated young women who have returned to their communities as teachers, healthcare providers and other professions. These returning young women are inspirations for the girls and boys in their communities to strive for something different and to give back. What more would one want from a donation?

Anita56

Donor

Rating: 4

I remember way back in 2006, it was a rainy night on march 20, that I met Greg Mortensen
on his book promotion of Three Cups of Teas on El camino Real, Palo Alto, California.

I admired his passion for building schools for girls in such remote and barren region and echoed my belief that world peace through education, especially so in middle east where
most girls don't have opportunity to get educated.

it has been more than a decade since i became a donor of Central Asia Institute and i will continue to do so because the world is in need of our efforts more than ever.

Donor

Rating: 4

I believe it is important to educate girls and women especially in countries that don't usually do this. It not only helps the girls when they become adults and have families of their own but helps the villages they live in to advance too. I think the world will be a better place when everyone, man or woman has a chance to be educated. Building schools in central Asia is a beginning and I am happy to know that many girls have received an education due to my donations.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was initially inspired by Three Cups of Tea - the story of how the idea of building schools in remotest parts of Asia all started. I have been a campaigner for the global environment for decades, and also for women's rights to control their own fertility - only when soaring rates of population growth are cut almost to zero, will efforts to conserve the natural environment really succeed. Vital to this is the education of girls, so that they can aspire to a wider future than constant child-bearing. As teachers, doctors, lawyers they will power the development of more harmonious societies.

11

Donor

Rating: 5

Central Asia Institute is a unique nonprofit, doing difficult, complex work of establishing girls schools and promoting women's projects in some of the most difficult, dangerous, parts of the world. I have yet to find someone working in the exact same areas for the last two decades, and able to produce. Central Asia Institute CAI produces a project master list

CAI also unfortunately has been the subject relentless media attacks, which has reduced its funding by 80%. These include flawed attacks by CBS, NBC, Washington Post, Jon Krakauer, Tom Brokaw, and others, some of which regarding financial information is accurate, but the large portion are biased, out of context, misrepresented, and even false statement in the case of CBS, which has produced critically flawed, wildly inaccurate, sensationalized, also been caught flagrantly lying about Benghazi, NSA and Social Security Administration. Instead of following the media to learn about CAI, please look at the Attorney General's report, lawsuit dismissal, IRS investigation report, all which state the organization has not committed any crime or fraud, as the bias media would have one believe. The law is more accurate than the media which no longer has the credibility to protect the fifth estate. Watch the documentary "Shadows Of Liberty" to see how corrupt and flawed TV media has become in a sell-out to corporate conglomerates. Watch "Shadows of Liberty" documentary to see how media has been bought out and TV stations like CBS seek to destroy nonprofits and companies doing good work.

Review from Guidestar

9 Jan_61

Donor

Rating: 5

I continue to donate to this organization and have faith in CAI's management. They have addressed funding/organizational issues responsibly and continue extraordinarily important work in central Asia.

Review from Guidestar

21

Donor

Rating: 5

I have donated to this charity for years and intend to keep doing so. A while back 60 Minutes did a piece on this charity to highlight claims of abuse by a climber and author. As I had promoted giving to this charity with family and coworkers, I was interested in learning more about the claims presented by 60 Minutes. What I found was that to learn more about the specific charges, I was expected to pay a fee to access a website containing an online book.

After using every other avenue available and finding out all the information about the charges, here is my summary view of them: The otherwise peerless CBS 60 Minutes was duped into providing free publicity for a money making effort by the person who made the claims.

Furthermore, in investigating Mr. Mortenson's so called lavish personal travel benefits: I looked at the event schedule, trying to find a date to hear him speak in person. Day after day, week after week, month after month was filled with events for faculty, students, groups, and boards. I have had to travel extensively for my job as a staff trainer. I could not have held up under Mr. Mortenson's schedule.

Each day of every month was crammed full of educational and fundraising events throughout the morning, day, and evening. Then a flight to another destination, sometimes with another event taking place upon arrival at that new location. Most of the events were at U.S. colleges and universities, and at community groups where those institutions are located. His detractors would have us believe that he was flying around the world on a vacation junket to luxurious tourist destination resorts.

Also, one reviewer here said building schools is cheap, but staffing and maintaining them is the difficult part. This is quite true. Please use the links here to go to this charity's webpages to see how paying teachers, providing school supplies, and supporting attendance is a large part of their efforts. U.S. government military built schools may be very generous, but unfortunately are viewed by locals as attempts to subvert their culture.

CAI does not just go somewhere and build a school in hopes that teachers and students will somehow show up. They receive requests from village councils to build a school in a remote village, one that the government will not serve with its own resources. In lands that are dominated by warlords, zealous clerics, and tribal chiefs, no one is going to send their children to a school unless such community leaders support it.

The brush with 60 Minutes caused the charity to make many changes to ensure transparency, protect the investments of donors, and ensure the long term viability of its charitable operations. If you want to make your own decisions about these concerns, please visit the archives of the Daily Bozeman, the court documents, the charity's website, and good old Google searches. I trust you will arrive at the same conclusions I have.

11

Donor

Rating: 4

After serving with the U.S. military in Kabul, Afghanistan, I observed the effects of discrimination against girls and women. The Afghan Major General in charge of the Ministry of Defense (MoD) legal department proudly claimed, "Four women equal one man!".

Greg Mortensen, though imperfect, has broken the code on breaking the cycle of illiteracy, poverty, and ignorance in South Asia. His organization needs our support. The solution, rather than military might, is soft power through education. Please help us turn the tide--donate to CAI.

5

Donor

Rating: 1

David Starnes joins CAI team as new executive director
Will move to Bozeman in late Febuary.
Central Asia Institute announced today that it has hired a new executive director, David Starnes.

David, a 57-year-old father of three, will join us in late February after winding down his work with USAID's Office of Transition Initiatives-Pakistan. He brings to the job more than 30 years experience as a professional and organizational development consultant, working with nonprofit, for-profit and government organizations, including 19 years as executive director of the Baltimore-Chesapeake Bay Outward Bound Center.

David joins us just as we are gearing up for the 2013 building and maintenance season. In the past year, bolstered by our supporters' continued confidence, we sustained our commitment to more than 300 existing projects, and initiated 60 new projects: 20 in Pakistan, 36 in Afghanistan, and four in Tajikistan. As most of our projects are in the remote Karakoram, Hindu Kush, and Pamir mountains, springtime is the busiest season.

"I am looking forward to working with CAI's team both in the United States and in the communities it serves," David said. "CAI has made a profound impact on people's awareness of the need for education and community health initiatives in the remote and rural villages of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. I'm excited to be on board."

Greg Mortenson, CAI's co-founder, served as executive director from CAI's founding in 1996 until December 2011. He remains on staff, playing a supportive role, primarily with overseas programs and relationships. He will also continue to help with fundraising.

"With a new, capable board of directors and the experienced leadership of David Starnes, CAI is ready to move strongly into the future," Greg said.

David currently serves as the deputy country representative for USAID-Office of Transition Initiatives in Pakistan. He has been in Pakistan since January 2010 working with the Pakistan government in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber Pakhtunkwa Province to provide basic support and stabilization services for communities in the critically important border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Prior to taking the USAID post, David spent a month as a volunteer in Jordan, teaching English at a Palestinian refugee camp. From 2008 to 2009, David worked as a senior program analyst with Stanley, Baker, Hill LLC in support of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE)-Office of Safety and Health in Iraq.

Stateside, David worked with Outward Bound USA for more than 20 years in a variety of senior executive roles, including his years at the Baltimore center, Outward Bound's first urban center. He worked with local government officials to initiate the Philadelphia center, and played a key leadership role in shaping Outward Bound USA's long-term strategy on urban centers.

David earned both his bachelor's degree in parks and recreation administration and master's in public administration at Western Illinois University. He has three adult children, Justin, 28, Rachael, 26, and Sarah, 24.

CAI launched a nationwide search to fill the executive director's position and received dozens of qualified applicants, said Steve Barrett, chairman of the CAI board of directors.

"CAI is excited to have someone of David's background and experience join us in our mission to promote literacy and education, especially for girls," said Steve, a Bozeman attorney and former member of the Montana University System's Board of Regents. "David's extensive experience in community development and his past three years in Pakistan uniquely qualify him to help CAI continue to fulfill its mission of the last 17 years. Our board is thrilled and we look forward to David joining our team."

Last August, Greg noted on the CAI Communique: "Being executive director of Central Asia Institute is a unique task with incredible rewards. More than a job, it is a calling. ... We look forward to the added vitality that this person will bring to the CAI team - especially during these particularly challenging times in the communities CAI serves in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan."


Review from CharityNavigator

9 Karen151

Donor

Rating: 4

I am not a little disturbed by your information on Central Asia Institute, as it is badly out of date. Greg Mortenson resigned as Executive Director some time ago and recently has left its Board of Directors in order to preserve what has been an important mission of both Mortenson and the Institute. I shall continue to contribute.

Review from CharityNavigator

15

Donor

Rating: 5

I feel Greg Mortenson is one of the great men of the world and question whether that can be said about 60 Minutes or Jon Krachauer. One of the reviewers commented that his was an impartial report. How do we know that? Obviously, Mortenson is not necessarily good at handling money and it appears that the institute has recognized that and is now using him where his talents are strongest. How many of us can say that we have done so much to change the world for better?