Azizullah Royesh is board member and civic education teacher at Marefat High School (MHS), the educational branch of the Kabul-based nonprofit Marefat Civil Capacity Building Organization. As a top-ten awardee of the Global Teacher Prize 2015, Aziz joined the Empowerment Institute certification program in January 2016. Aziz has studied privately in the field of Farsi literature, the history of Islam, the holy Quran, civic education, and civil rights. He has authored and coauthored a series of textbooks on humanism, human rights, democracy, and interpretation of the Quran that are taught at Marefat High School. Currently he teaches interpretation of the Quran with a humanistic approach at MHS. Aziz Royesh was one of the Yale World Fellows in the class of 2010 and a fellow of Reagan-Fascell at the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in 2011–2012. He wrote his autobiography as his research paper at NED and published its Farsi version in 2013. The book, titled Let Me Breathe, portrays three decades of change and development in Afghanistan between 1979 and 2012. The acclaimed book The Last Thousand (2016) by Jeffrey Stern tells Aziz’s story and the story of Marefat High School.
Marefat High School and Marefat Civic Capacity Building Organization
Founded in 1994 in the refugee camps of Pakistan, Marefat High School (MHS) is the educational branch of Marefat Civil Capacity Building Organization (MCCBO). Both MHS and MCCBO are tax-exempt nonprofit entities registered in the ministries of education, finance, and economics. The main focus of MCCBO is education, with a democratic and human-rights orientation. The school started its activities in Kabul just after the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001. As of 2016, Marefat High School was home for 3,600 students from kindergarten to twelfth grade. Around 43 percent of the students were female. One of the most successful parts of the Marefat program is adult education, in which adults, mainly women between the ages of fifteen and forty-eight, attend an accelerated learning program. Most of the students have passed their course of studies from first to ninth grade in less than four years. Music, art, Radio Marefat, professional training in audiovideo, electricity, radio, journalism, and a monthly magazine are the extracurricular activities in the school. All programs and activities of MCCO are led and supervised by a board of trustees consisting of influential community members including university professors, businessmen, and civil society activists. www.marefatschool.org