ROBERT ALLEN
summit daily news
Breckenridge, Colorado

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May 20, 2009
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Breckenridge nonprofit has film screening at Speakeasy Thursday

Women and children in such Central Asian countries as Afghanistan and Pakistan are getting a helping hand from some fellow mountain dwellers on this side of the planet.

Mountain 2 Mountain, a Breckenridge-based nonprofit, will offer a presentation and film screening tonight at the Speakeasy Theater.

"Our focus is education for women and children " and primarily in Afghanistan at this point," said founder and executive director Shannon Galpin, who returned from Asia a week-and-a-half ago.

She and her organization were featured last Sunday on Dateline NBC for efforts in a country known for its violent fundamentalists and culturally accepted abuse of women.

Galpin's trip to Afghanistan was her second since November. She spent three weeks traveling "very inconspicuously" to revisit connections and research future projects in schools and communities.

"(We're) looking right now at programs with the deaf community, women's prisons and computer labs," she said.

In its first fundraising cycle, the nonprofit raised more than $100,000 to build two Central Asia Institute schools " one of which has been completed in Pakistan and serves 125 students with eight teachers, according to www.mountain2mountain.com.

The organization was founded in fall of 2006. It was partnered with other non-governmental-organizations for the first two years, allowing time to develop a plan and fundraising efforts.

"The main focus with all the projects is that we're creating a circular model that will not just implement education as a stop-gap, but use it as a tool to create more opportunity, jobs and empower women " and the next generation of children " to control the direction that their next generation's going to take," she said.

The annual community movie night gives the nonprofit a chance to "share what we're doing and introduce the community to (our) projects and to the people of Afghanistan."

The film "16 Days in Afghanistan," released in December 2007, focuses on the country's culture since the fall of the Taliban. It is a "personal journey of enlightenment" revealing such issues as living conditions, employment, opium, women, traditions and more " and visiting locations across the country, according to amazon.com.

Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or rallen@summitdaily.com.


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The Summit Daily Updated May 20, 2009 05:52PM Published May 20, 2009 05:52PM Copyright 2009 The Summit Daily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.