Circle of Women(CoW) is a brilliant effort to build self-sustainable educational institutions for women in developing nations. I have been thoroughly impressed with the work of CoW. As a student-run organization, CoW has raised funds using unique and creative ideas ranging from poker nights and holiday bazaars to women’s brunches. After working with the organization, I have observed that CoW is extremely efficient and works like a “well oiled machine”. Efforts of these women are laudable and have inspired me to work with them towards an important social cause. Education is synonymous with independence and success. Universal Education is one of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Moreover, in developing nations, a large percentage of women do not have access to formal education (85.1% in Afghanistan). By understanding and addressing this need in developing nations, Circle of Women is acting as a social change agent across borders and changing numerous lives in the process. By maintaining low operation costs and successfully raising funds, CoW is solving an important problem at the grassroots level. Watching women, from one of the world’s greatest educational institutions: Harvard University, work towards the goal of providing underprivileged women in remote areas of the world with post-secondary education, is particularly exciting and satisfying. CoW is committed to working for the educational development of women who lack similar opportunities. We sorely need many CoWs to make this world a better place.
I have been involved with Circle of Women since its inception in 2006 and have seen the organization grow from a handful of students exchanging big ideas in college dorm rooms to a professional, student-run organization with chapters across the country and internationally. My experience with Circle of Women has been invaluable, both personally and professionally. The organization has introduced me to dear friends; it has challenged me to develop strong management and organizational skills; and it has been a launching pad for my career in international development. One Circle's greatest strengths is that it is an organization that thinks before it acts, whether through detailed research on potential projects and partners or careful consideration and reconsideration of its mission and theory of change. The organization's commitment to reflection, self-critique, and impact ensures that it avoids cookie-cutter approaches to women's education in the developing world and instead focuses on what works in what context.