By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TVBy Paula Ebben

SHARON (CBS) – Learning starts long before classes begin at Sharon Middle School.

Some students get up early for a club called “Girls Learn International.” These local students connect with girls in a war-torn country.

Girls Learn International videoconferences with female students at the Zabuli Education Center in Afghanistan.

The girls see and listen to their peers for whom school is not a given. “It gives you a real appreciation for what they’ve experienced,” said Rachel, a Sharon sixth grader.

They exchange ideas from everyday talk about the weather to profound observations about the value of girls’ education.

Teacher Laura Smolcha says this experience is a world away from the days of simply looking at a poster of another country on a classroom wall. The Sharon students have realized they aren’t very different from their new-found friends across the globe. “As different as Afghanistan is from Sharon, MA I think that they have similarities whether it’s through music or art or reading,” said Smolcha.

“There are a lot of Americans who like don’t pay attention to the other side of the world they’re in their own little bubble but there are a lot of us who do care and who will help others around the world,” said a Sharon sixth grader.

“I think in our country we kind of take school for granted a little bit and the fact that they couldn’t go to school and that they work so hard to go to school means a lot more than just going to school because we have to,” added another Girls Learn International member.

The girls hope to speak two more times this spring. The local Rotary Club, Razia’s Ray of Hope Foundation, and the Global Nomads Group donated the equipment and helped organize this project.

If you have an Eye On Education story for Paula Ebben, email her at or contract her on Twitter @PaulaEbbenWBZ



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