Central Asia Institute Pennies for Peace

Help us help them

A schoolgirl in Pakistan

One of the most ambitious service programs ever undertaken by the DCC was the 2008 Central Asian Institute Project—Pennies for Peace which raised and donated $30,000 to build a school in Pakistan.

The idea began when Marty read the bestseller Three Cups of Tea about the plight of education-starved young women in Central Asia, and wondered if it would be possible to raise funds to build “just one school” for them. Eleven months later, with the support of one of the most influential musicians of our time, Z Randall Stroope, the “Inscription of Hope” concert was born.

The overall project had two major components.  The first was “Pennies for Peace.”  This program is designed to broaden children’s cultural horizons, and to teach them about their capacities as philanthropists—one penny at a time.  (In that poverty stricken area of the world a penny can buy a pencil. )  Seven Harford County schools, two churches, two local businesses, and the DCC itself served as collection sites, and $4,000 was raised.  That is 400,000 pennies!

In addition to that effort, a major concert event “Inscription of Hope” was organized featuring five choirs with 213 vocalists, soloists Soprano Lauren Brown and Baritone Gregory Hoyt, concertmaster Igor Yuzefovich, and conducted by Randall Stroope, himself.  The first half of the program featured seven of Stroope’s own works focused on inspiring hope in a troubled world.  The second half of the concert showcased John Rutter’s Mass of the Children with an inspirational message from John Rutter supporting the effort.  The concert generated $26,000 to be donated to the cause.

In all, over 1,000 people were involved in the enormous fundraising efforts. And as a result of monies raised, a school in Pakistan was built, and operational expenses for five years were provided!  Be sure to see the amazing video on the Serving Others page of our website.

Today the Pennies for Peace program is alive and well, still providing the opportunity for children to reach out to help others.  Over the past 20 years the Central Asia Institute has been able to support 450 projects and provide the gift of education to hundreds of thousands of people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.

According to the CAI statistics 98,225 people have benefitted, 67% of the beneficiaries were female, 1,183 teachers have been trained, 615 scholarships have been awarded, and there were 24 active construction projects in 2015.  For more information go to https://centralasiainstitute.org/financials/2015-impact-report.pdf