Afghan Institute of Learning

AIL's mission is to empower all Afghans who are needy and oppressed, especially women and children, so that they can support and take care of themselves. AIL, an organization founded and run by Afghan women, expands access to quality education and healthcare and encourages community participation in all programs. AIL's goal is to lay a foundation for quality education and health systems in Afghanistan that will meet the needs of women and children today and for generations to come.

Afghan Institute of Learning
Afghan Institute of Learning
c/o CHI, PO Box 1058
Dearborn, Michigan 48121
United States
(313) 278-5806

Founder & Executive Director

Sakena Yacoobi

Management Team

Sakena Yacoobi, Hamida Zia, Jamila Mhd. Akbar, Zakia Ibrahim

Board of Directors

Sakena Yacoobi, Rahimullah Mayar, Khadijah Haidar, Hamida Zia, Jamila Mohammad Akbar, Zakia Ibrahami, Said Hassan Said Osman, Maryam Ismati, Malalai Salimi, Jamila Mhd. Akbar, Zakia Ibrahim

Project Leaders

Toc Dunlap
Sakena Yacoobi


AIL's mission is to empower all Afghans who are needy and oppressed, especially women and children, so that they can support and take care of themselves. AIL, an organization founded and run by Afghan women, expands access to quality education and healthcare and encourages community participation in all programs. AIL's goal is to lay a foundation for quality education and health systems in Afghanistan that will meet the needs of women and children today and for generations to come.


We have five programs that we would like to highlight. They are Education, Training, Health Care & Education, Culture and Peace. Below you will find a brief description of our work in each area. Education - It is the belief of Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, Founder and Executive Director of AIL that the way to bring peace to Afghanistan is by education its people. Since its founding in 1995 through September 2012, AIL has supported 326 community-based schools and learning centers and has educated 286,453 students; approximately 70% of the students have been female. AIL strives to bring high quality education to those communities who request help from AIL. A center or school is established in a village only after the village requests it, and after the village helps to contribute to the establishment of the center. This requirement helps to establish trust between AIL and the village and helps to ensure that the community feels a sense of ownership of the center. Self-sufficiency of the center is the ultimate goal for all of AIL's Learning Centers. Presently, AIL supports 34 Learning Centers in Herat and Kabul, Afghanistan and Peshawar, Pakistan. These centers teach classes in subjects such as literacy, computers, math, sewing and more. From January until September 2012, these 34 centers have helped to educate 19,912 Afghans, 14,743 of whom were female. In addition, AIL is providing technical assistance to 3 private schools in Kabul and Herat, Afghanistan. These three schools serve a total of 959 students, 404 of whom are girls. Training - AIL has developed and implemented a variety of trainings ranging from teacher training, to in-depth health workshops, to leadership, human right, computer and administrative trainings to increase the capacity of the Afghan citizens who attend. These workshops can last anywhere from one hour to two weeks or more. Since 1996, AIL has trained 39,673 Afghans, mostly females. AIL's teacher training is an integral part of its educational program and offers teachers the chance to learn interactive methods designed to involve the students in the learning process and give them critical thinking skills. Traditionally, teachers in Afghanistan use rote memorization to teach their students, not giving the students the opportunity to learn to use higher level thinking skills. After taking the Teacher Training workshops and seminars, many teachers report back that they feel a renewed passion for their profession; they are seeing their students learn to think critically about both the subject they are learning, and about the world around them. AIL has trained over 20,000 teachers since 1996, benefitting more than 5 million students. The design of AIL's Leadership Workshop teachers participants about their human rights and encourages them to be leaders. Participants are given the opportunity to be involved in discussions and to tell their own stories. They are able to share their thoughts about others' stories and to help each other develop solutions to the challenges of everyday life. Seldom are Afghans given the opportunity to open up discussions about the things that are important to them in a format that allows for true dialogue. Following the workshops, the participants report that they have a feeling of freedom and can share their experiences and feelings freely. Once they have this opportunity, they start discussing topics such as honesty, ethics, personal responsibility, joblessness, tribal fanaticism, disease, mental health, and family violencereal life. Their interactive involvement allows them to see a direct relationship between the theoretical lesson that is being presented by the teachers and their hopes and expectations for their own lives. This interactive teaching method starts people thinking for themselves and taking action as leaders in their families or communities. Health - AIL believes that health is a human right and assisting Afghans to be healthy has been one of AIL's primary goals. Since 1996 through September 2012, AIL has supported 15 health clinics, provided services to 1.5 million patients and given health education classes to more than 2.1 million women and children. Presently, AIL is supporting 4 clinics in Herat and Kabul, Afghanistan. These clinics provide a variety of services ranging from treating patients for illnesses, to providing vaccines to providing health education. From January to August 2012, these eight clinics have treated 101,597 patients. The clinics have delivered 103 babies, all of whom were healthy, an astonishing figure in the country with the world's highest infant mortality rate, according to data from the United Nations. 26,371 people were vaccinated, and 69,042 received health education. In addition to it's clinics, AIL offers many in-depth health workshops. Most recently AIL has been focusing on presenting workshops focused on women's health issues such as reproductive health and educating expectant mothers. During the first nine months of 2012 AIL held 12 Reproductive Health Workshops for 390Afghan women. During the same time period, AIL has held 11 workshops for 220 pregnant women and their birth helpers. After the Expectant Mother Workshops, AIL keeps in contact with the pregnant women, and is proud to report that nearly all of the women choose to give birth at a clinic attended by medical professionals, as opposed to birthing at home with only family, or perhaps a lay midwife to help. Since starting the workshops two years ago AIL has been keeping in contact with the mothers who attend the workshops and is proud to report that there has only been one infant death (a still-born) an incredible feat for Afghanistan, or any country. Cultural Programs - While the history of Afghanistan is one filled with conflict and strife, it is also rich in arts and culture. Sadly, the last thirty years of conflict have taken a toll on the arts in Afghanistan, and some knowledge of some traditional crafts have nearly disappeared. AIL is seeking to revive the poetry, painting, and other traditional arts and crafts of Afghanistan by offering classes in these subjects at the 2000 year old citadel in Herat. The subjects taught include calligraphy, miniature painting, glass making, tile making, carpet weaving and silk weaving. These classes are attended by a total of 96 students. This past October, in order to celebrate one year of classes at the citadel, the AIL students held an art show featuring the works of the calligraphy and miniature painting classes. The students showed 435 pieces of art work, and the show was attended by over 1000 Afghan citizens. These classes are not only teaching the students who attend them about the traditional arts of Afghanistan, but they are also opening the eyes of the general public to the rich cultural history of their country. Transforming Afghanistan to a Peaceful Nation - In April of 2012, AIL held an international conference on Peace, Love and Forgiveness, featuring the poetry of Rumi, a 13th century Muslim poet, jurist, theologian, and Sufi mystic. This conference is perhaps one of the most transformative events that AIL has developed and has had a profound impact on the people of Afghanistan. The object of the conference and the workshops following the conference has been to show Afghans that they come from a culture of peace and love, and how they can use this background to help transform their nation into a peaceful one where people live in harmony. The workshops use the poetry of Rumi as a vehicle to teach Afghans about love and forgiveness and how it is possible to have the power to lead their country in a new direction. News of AIL's conference has spread around the country, and people have been asking AIL to present similar conferences for more Afghans. In response, the staff of AIL has developed several shorter workshops to teach the same lessons of peace to smaller audiences, particularly groups of high school students. Since April, AIL has held 7 workshops based on the ideas of peace, love and forgiveness for 642 Afghan young women, men, and students. After the conferences, AIL keeps in touch with the participants and is hearing encouraging stories of attendees feeling empowered, taking steps to become leaders in their community and sharing the information they have learned with friends and family. These workshops are beginning to light the torch of peace in Afghanistan, a light which will be difficult to extinguish.

Statistics on Afghan Institute of Learning

Financial Statistics

  • Annual Budget for 2006: $882,200
  • Annual Budget for 2005: $842,050
  • Maximum Annual Budget: $882,200
  • Other funding sources: AIL has twelve grantors and numerous individual donors.
  • Religious Affiliation: None
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