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Who is Central Asia Institute

Vision: To unlock the full potential of girls and women through education. When girls and women thrive, their families, communities, and nations prosper.

Mission: To promote education and livelihood skills, especially for girls and women, in the remote regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Tajikistan.

Educate a Girl. Change the World.

Central Asia Institute’s work is mostly in the remote northern mountainous regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and bordering Tajikistan. Very few organizations serve the remote areas where we work, and there is little to no government assistance.

The people and cultures of Central Asia are as varied and diverse as the landscape, blending to create a tapestry of customs, languages and cultures that have flourished for thousands of years. The shared commonality between these proud people is their desire for education and hope for a better tomorrow.

CAI does everything to help children succeed in school, from before they are born, until after they graduation.  Here are our main programs:

Schools: CAI builds new schools, repairs and improves existing school, and purchases equipment – such as uniforms, furniture, and school supplies – for students and teachers.

Scholarships: CAI awards advanced-education scholarships to ensure promising students are able to complete their studies.

Teachers: CAI organizes teacher trainings and pays teachers’ salaries.

Public Health: Student can’t go to school and learn if they aren’t healthy.  Maternal health care, infant wellness, nutrition, and hygiene programs; disaster relief assistance; and clean water systems are all provided by CAI.

Women’s Centers: Vocational centers equip women with much-needed skills, helping them become breadwinners for their families.  Literacy centers give women of all ages lessons in reading and writing.

Community Support: Other projects are occasionally funded by CAI. These projects include bridges, porter trainings, and museums.

We believe in the parable: “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” Over the last 2 decades, we have developed innovative techniques that empower communities to make sustainable, meaningful change for themselves and their communities.  Rather than telling communities what they need, we partner with locals to build long lasting development projects that deeply benefit them.

Each one of Central Asia Institute’s projects is initiated, implemented and managed by local communities. A committee of elders guides each selected project. Before a project starts, the community matches project funds with local resources and labor. This commitment ensures a project’s viability and long term success. Local NGO’s (Non-Government Organizations) and village communities are selected for their dedication, initiative, and accountability to facilitate our community partnerships. We take great care to cooperate with the various governmental, political, and religious groups of this complex region. We meet this cross-cultural challenge without affiliation to any particular group.


All donations raised for Pennies for Peace support educational projects funded and implemented by Central Asia Institute (CAI), a 501 ( C ) 3 non-profit organization.

For financial information from previous years, please visit CAI’s website