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Major Nina D’Amato in Helmand

Major Nina D'Amato from Camp Pendleton works with women in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Major Nina D’Amato from Camp Pendleton works with women in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Thirteen-thousand Marines from Camp Pendleton are currently deployed in Afghanistan, but not all of them are engaged in combat missions. Major Nina D’Amato is working to promote education and entrepreneurial opportunities for women in Helmand province.

D’Amato is a Marine reservist who, in her civilian life, is an assistant principal at a middle school. She trained with weapons systems at Camp Pendleton but her mission in Afghanistan is to help the Afghan government fulfill its educational goals.

D’Amato said she’s seeing progress in the effort to get more girls and women into schools, and also involved in local government.

“Today I sat in on the Helmand provincial council meeting,”she said, “and there were three council members who were women of the 15 who showed up, and that’s very exciting to see women represented at the provincial governance level.”

D’Amato said her group is working to build home-based businesses so that women who are not allowed out of the home can make money.

She said even if the U.S. military withdraws combat forces next year, these kinds of development initiatives will continue.

Mary Ann Merritt

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