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Help Shagufa H.'s Education to End Child Marriage

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Hello! My name is Marie Forgeard-Lacasse. I am a psychologist living in Arlington, MA. I currently volunteer for the Arlington-Cambridge-Somerville (ArCS ) chapter of the Refugee Immigration Ministry (RIM ), an organization that supports asylum-seekers in the greater Boston area in the United States. This is how I met Shagufa Habibi, a remarkable young woman from Afghanistan. Since meeting her a year and a half ago, I have been part of a volunteer team working closely with Shagufa to help her pursue her dreams.

With this Gofundme campaign, I am helping Shagufa raise funds to pursue her education and help end child marriage in developing countries.  All funds raised in this campaign will be used towards Shagufa's educational and living expenses so she is able to pursue a Master's Degree in International Economics and Finance at Brandeis University. If you scroll down to the end of Shagufa's story (presented below), you will see a detailed budget and breakdown of how she will use funds.

Please read about Shagufa's story and consider supporting her! I am at your disposal if you have any questions. 


Marie Forgeard-Lacasse

Click on Read More to watch Shagufa's Video and Read her Story

Here what Shagufa says:

( )

My name is Shagufa Habibi. I grew up in Herat, Afghanistan – a country in perpetual economic and political crisis. I did not realize what that meant for me until I was forced into marriage at only 16. In much of my world poverty leads to forced marriages which is an immense hindrance to girls’ education. I eventually escaped after years of facing ostracism, violence, and tremendous suffering, but many young brides never do.

I left home and escaped without telling anyone to pursue my higher studies. In May 2019, I graduated with Honors from the Asian University for Women (AUW) in Bangladesh with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics. This was made possible because of a full scholarship from generous donors. If you would like to learn more about my path, NPR wrote a story about me and my passion for the sport specifically golf that you can access here:

( Afghan Golf team in Kabul, Afghanistan 2015)
   (Shagufa 's Bachelor Degree Graduation Day, May 2019)
I have always had a passion for education. I knew deep inside that I had something important to contribute to society. My dream is to work as an economist and financial analyst to understand and creatively address real-world economic issues affecting millions of women.

I am very pleased to share that as of Spring 2020, I am one step closer to my dream, as I was granted admission to Brandeis University to pursue a Master's Degree in International Economics and Finance. I am very grateful that I received a partial scholarship from Brandeis, which covers $35,000.00 out of the $54,596.00 tuition costs per academic year. Unfortunately, it will not be enough to allow me to attend the program. Because I do not have any support from family and am currently not allowed to work as I am applying for asylum in the United States (my application is pending), I must rely on the kindness of others at this time to see me through this part of the journey. I am currently receiving a stipend from the Refugee Immigration Ministry (RIM), an organization supporting asylum-seekers in the greater Boston area. The De Novo Center for Justice and Healing are providing pro bono representation.

Having conducted careful budget calculations, I have determined that over the two years this program will last I will require a remaining $87,321.00 to pay for tuition and associated costs of studying and living. I have therefore decided to defer the start of my program to the Fall of 2021 in order to raise the funds needed to support my graduate school education. Your help will enable my dream to come true - to help eradicate child marriage and empower girls throughout the world. My ultimate goal is to establish a non-profit foundation entitled “Women, Leadership, and Sports.” I foresee establishing centers to empower girls through athletic, leadership, and entrepreneurship activities, and through interventions to prevent child marriages.

I will use 100% of the funds raised according to the following budget calculations (established with guidance from the Brandeis Office of Financial Service:

-        Remaining academic tuition costs not covered by the partial scholarship I was awarded for two years (total estimated $39,192.00)
-        Orientation fee charged only in the first semester and student activity fee charged each semester (total estimated $315.00)
-        Room and board costs for two years (total estimated $32,760.00)
-        Health Insurance for two years (total estimated  $6,790.00)
-        Costs of books for two years (total estimated $3,400.00)
-        Transportation costs for two years (total estimated $4,864.00)

I am reaching out to all those who believe in me and ask for your support so that I can complete my educational journey and begin the work of serving others. It is my promise that your generosity will help empower other young girls in developing countries in the near future.
(Shagufa  was a volunteer computer instructor for kids at Play Park School, Chittagong, Bangladesh, 2017-2019)

(Shagufa is a volunteer at Boston Medical Center, 2019-2020)

With deepest gratitude,

Shagufa Habibi

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact:

Marie Forgeard (through GoFundMe contact)

Shagufa Habibi
Phone # (347) [phone redacted]
Email: [email redacted]


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Organizer and beneficiary

Marie Forgeard-Lacasse
Arlington, MA
Shagufa Habibi

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