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Every year, there's that book you just have to read. Well, a few years back, that book was 'Three Cups of Tea', the story of Greg Mortenson. And what a story!
It all started with Greg's failed attempt to climb K2 in 1993. Sick and lost, a remote Pakistani village took him in, and the villagers nursed him back to health. As he recovered, Greg was shocked to learn the village had no school - so promised to build them one.
Well, he made good on that promise ... and more. Greg started a non-profit to promote education in the region. The idea was to provide an alternative to 'madrassas', schools that often promote Islamic fundamentalism.
Greg also has paid particular attention to the education of girls, who are often denied the chance to learn in that part of the world. It hasn't been easy. Greg's faced death threats from Islamic extremists, was kidnapped by the Taliban for eight days, and even got threats from fellow Americans after 9/11.
But over the years, Greg's managed to build or substantially support 131 schools, and to give an education to 58,000 kids - 44,000 of them girls.
Greg started his work in Pakistan, but has since branched out to Afghanistan. He writes all about it in his follow-up book, 'Stones Into Schools'.