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READING | BRIEFS

Minister heads to Afghanistan

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The Rev. Tim Kutzmark, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Reading, traveled last week to war-torn Afghanistan as part of a three-person delegation studying how women are working to bring about social, educational, and economic change in that conflicted country. The mission of the Afghanistan: Women Making Change delegation is to learn more about the efforts of Afghan women who are trying to rebuild and strengthen their country. After three decades of warfare, Afghanistan continues to strive toward reconstruction, despite the Taliban insurgency and waning support for the NATO-backed government. While in Afghanistan, Kutzmark plans to visit the leaders of various women’s rights organizations and speak with other civil rights activists. Among his planned stops: newly rebuilt schools for girls; the Red Cross rehabilitation clinic for mine victims; Kabul University, the oldest and largest institution of tertiary education in Afghanistan; and a refugee camp where several infants and children died during cold winter nights. Kutzmark also hopes to learn more about the lives of Afghan street children and explore micro-financing for small, women-led businesses. Kutzmark’s trip is being funded in part by The Natalie Gulbrandsen Ministerial Scholarship Fund for International Studies, which strives to provide Unitarian Universalist ministers an opportunity to immerse themselves in and study a developing country. - Brenda J. Buote

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