Afghan Institute of Learning

The Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) works to empower all Afghans who are needy, especially women and children, providing them the knowledge and skills to care for themselves. AIL is expanding access to quality education and healthcare through community based programming, enabling communities to develop the capacity of their people. The goal is to create a foundation of quality education and health systems throughout Afghanistan which meet the needs of local people now and in the future. AIL was founded by an Afghan woman and is run by women, reaching thousands each year through health facilities, educational centers and training programs.

Afghan Institute of Learning
Afghan Institute of Learning
c/o CHI, PO Box 1058
Dearborn, Michigan 48121
United States
(313) 278-5806
http://www.afghaninstituteoflearning.org

Founder & CEO

Sakena Yacoobi

Management Team

Sakena Yacoobi, Rahimullah Mayar, Khadijah Haidar, Jamila Mohammad Akbar, Zakia Ibrahami, Said Hassan Said Osman, Malalai Salimi, Ehsan A Sahel, Wali Shah Bahra, Ali A Zarin

Board of Directors

Sakena Yacoobi, Khadijah Haidar, Hamida Zia, Jamila Mohammad Akbar, Zakia Ibrahami, Maryam Ismati, Malalai Salimi, Ehsan A Sahel, Wali Shah Bahra, Ali A Zarin

Project Leaders

Toc Dunlap
Sakena Yacoobi

Mission

The Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) works to empower all Afghans who are needy, especially women and children, providing them the knowledge and skills to care for themselves. AIL is expanding access to quality education and healthcare through community based programming, enabling communities to develop the capacity of their people. The goal is to create a foundation of quality education and health systems throughout Afghanistan which meet the needs of local people now and in the future. AIL was founded by an Afghan woman and is run by women, reaching thousands each year through health facilities, educational centers and training programs.

Programs

AIL operates in three broad, intertwined program areas in Afghanistan and with Afghans in Pakistan. The program areas are education, training and health. Education Program- The Founder of AIL and its CEO is Dr. Sakena Yacoobi, who believes that the way to peace for Afghanistan is through education of all its people. AIL developed the innovative Learning Center (LC) model and since its founding has supported 335 LCs and schools in 11 provinces of Afghanistan, educating over 320,000 students (70% female). An AIL Learning Center project begins after a community request and with ongoing community contribution in some form and through consultation with community leaders. These requirements facilitate the development of trust between villagers and AIL. The villagers determine the course of the project and feel ownership in it and so seek to protect and nurture it. Self-sufficiency of all centers is the ultimate goal of all AIL education initiatives. Currently, AIL supports 38 LCs in Herat and Kabul, Afghanistan and Peshawar, Pakistan. The centers teach various subjects including, literacy, computers, math, sewing, carpet weaving, English, Arabic, Dari, and chemistry and other subjects. Each year these centers educate 25,000 Afghans. In addition, AIL provides technical assistance to 3 private schools in Kabul and Herat which serve approximately 959 students (404 girls). Another aspect of the Education Program is that of culture revival. The last 30 years of strife in Afghanistan have taken a toll on the arts and culture of the country. Traditional arts need to be revived and the knowledge passed to the next generation. AIL offers classes in carpet weaving and Afghan artisan sewing skills. AIL also set up a specialized center at the 2,000 year old Citadel building in Herat where classes are held in calligraphy, miniature painting, glass and tile making, carpet and silk weaving. Students learn the skills of craftsmen and the public are rediscovering their rich, artistic cultural history. AIL is working on other ways to promote education and in its latest venture is providing support to a private radio station. AIL is donating office space and developing educational programming for the station so that many more people will learn about health and educational topics through the medium of radio. Training Program - AIL develops and implements trainings in various subjects, ranging from teacher training, leadership, health, human rights, peace, elections and computer and administration. The trainings follow various formats according to need, including workshops, seminars, women's networking conferences, mini workshops or at village assemblies. They can last anywhere from one hour to two weeks or more. Teacher Training is an integral part of AIL's educational philosophy. The classes offer teachers the chance to learn interactive methods designed to engage the students and promote critical thinking skills. Traditionally, teachers in Afghanistan used rote memorization which did not give students the opportunity to use higher level thinking skills. After taking the teacher training workshops and seminars, many teachers report that they feel a renewed passion for their profession. They see their students learn to think critically, question and voice their opinions about both the subjects and the world around them. AIL has trained over 23,000 teachers since 1996. Other trainings- Workshops enable participants to tell their stories, engage in discussion and learn about new concepts. The human rights, peace and leadership workshops teach people how to be leaders at home and in their community. Participants report feeling free to share their experiences and feelings. They are able discuss topics such as honesty, ethics, personal responsibility, joblessness, tribal issues, disease, mental health, and family violence. The teaching directly connects theories with the practical life situations of the participants. This approach helps people to think for themselves and start taking action as leaders. The elections workshops educate people in the practicalities of voting, why each person's vote matters and lead people to see that their opinions matter and should be voiced. AIL actively works to promote peace and teach Afghans how to recover the peaceful society they once had. In 2012, AIL held the first ever Conference on Love and Forgiveness centered on the poetry of Afghan poet Rumi. This conference was a great success and resulted in a program of workshops at schools following requests from students and teachers. The program shows Afghans that they come from a culture of peace and love, and how they can transform their nation into a peaceful one where people live in harmony. AIL keeps in touch with participants and hears encouraging stories of how they feel empowered and are taking steps to become leaders in their community and sharing what they have learned with friends and family. Health - Good healthcare is a human right and assisting Afghans to be healthy has always been one of AIL's primary goals. Healthy people can learn, hold down jobs, better themselves and provide for their families. AIL has always combined quality healthcare with frequent health education as both are key to achieving a stable self- supporting Afghan society. Currently, AIL runs 4 health clinics, mobile clinics and Community Health Worker posts (CHWs). Since 1996, AIL has supported 18 health clinics, provided services to 1.8 million patients and given health education classes to more than 2.3 million women and children. AIL clinics provide a variety of services including treatment, prevention and health education. Each year the health program treats over 190,000 patients. The services include vaccinations, reproductive health care and the delivery of babies in clinics and children treated in a nutrition program. In addition, each year around 118,000 people receive health education in clinics, from CHWs and through workshops including, the innovative Expectant Mother Workshop. The latter program which started in 2010 has educated 1,239 women, either when pregnant or as a helper through an afternoon of instruction on pregnancy, childbirth and infant care. So far, of recorded births 98% have been in clinics, compared to the overwhelming norm of home birth. There have been no maternal deaths and one stillborn which is remarkable in a country with one of the highest maternal/infant mortality rates.

Statistics on Afghan Institute of Learning

Financial Statistics

  • Annual Budget for 2014: $1,300,000
  • Annual Budget for 2005: $842,050
  • Maximum Annual Budget: $1,300,000
  • Other funding sources: AIL is supported by grants from corporations, private family foundations and numerous individual donors.
  • Religious Affiliation: None

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