Help The Afghan Children

Our mission is to help Afghan children become educated, healthy, and productive citizens who are able to fully contribute to building Afghanistan's civil society. We accomplish this by working with supporting partners to establish model community-based schools in different regions of Afghanistan; by providing training to local educators to enhance their professional capacities; and by developing and introducing innovative learning programs
Feb 19, 2014

Afghan girl uses peace skills to prevent violence

Guzal, peace advocate
Guzal, peace advocate

Most stories we hear about violence coming out of Afghanistan describe suicide bombings, roadside attacks or firefights between the Taliban and NATO or Afghan forces.  What typically goes underreported is the everyday violence that occurs in communities between neighbors and family members and it is most frequent in the less-educated, more conservative regions of the country where a culture of violence and aggression has existed for generations.

Guzal is a 12th grade girl, and one of 900 students who enrolled in HTAC's peace education program in Jouzjan Province, a region in norhtern Afghanistan.  In class, Guzal learned about the fundamental principles of peace and took particular interest in non-conflict resolution and mediation; concepts she had never heard of before, but she found them interesting.  Little did Guzal know, she would soon need to use these new skills to prevent a horrible tragedy from happening.

During the course of the school year, Guzal's grandfather (who owned a house in good condition on a reasonably-sized plot of land), passed away, leaving the property unclaimed.  A furious conflict erupted between Guzal's step grandmother and her uncle.  The grandmother wanted to pass on the house and land to her step-children while the uncle insisted the house was his.  As their back-and-forth argument escalated, her uncle threatened to kill Guzal's step-grandmother.

Guzal, relying on her non-violent conflict resolution and mediation skills that she learned in class, interceded.  As Guzal tells the story, she stoood between her raging uncle and step-grandmother, explaining that killing one another would not resolve things; that there was a better way.  After a tense half-hour, she convinced them to take their matter to court and resolve the problem in a fair, proper manner.

During the proceedings, Guzal, acting in a neutral manner, helped both her uncle and step-grandmother explain their case to the judge.  The judge divided the property legally and fairly to the satisfaction of both parties.  When it was over, Guzal's uncle (overcome with emotion), apologized to Guzal's step-grandmother for his harsh behavior and both of them hugged Guzal, thanking her for mediating their conflict. 

When Guzal finished telling HTAC her story, there was a contented smile on her face.  She had learned about peace and a tool she could carry with her for the rest of her life.

Feb 19, 2014

Afghan youth use eco lessons to improve schools

Over three decades of war have not only killed tens of thousands of Afghan children, but have decimated the land.  Centuries-old well-conceived water and irrigation systms have been destroyed; drinking water has been contaminated and Afghans in urban areas are exposed to many of the worst toxic and carcinogenic air pollutants known.

HTAC believes that part of our educational investment in Afghanistan must address the issue of teaching children that awareness of and concern for the environment is crucial in the establishment of a civil society.  Our environmental education program is designed to give Afghan youth hands-on experience in applying eco-learned concepts at their schools and in their homes.

3 years ago, the physical conditions at eight middle schools and high schools in the Paghman District (about 30 miles West of Kabul), were horrendous.  School grounds were covered with litter and in some cases, contained hazardous waste.  School gardens, normally a source of pride, had dying plants and poor irrigation.  Our team discovered that the overwhelming majority of students lacked even the most basic understanding of health and environmental concepts, did not comprehend many of the eco problems in their own communities and had little or no knowledge of basic health issues.  It was no wonder that many of them and their family members were constantly getting sick.

Today, the conditions at these schools have changed dramatically, thanks to the successful implementation of our environmental education initiative and the fact that students have taken ownership of the program.  Few, if any traces of litter can be found at any of the school sites, and most-importantly, hazardous waste has been removed.  Students have transformed their school gardens and young tree saplings have been planted.  During field trips into their neighborhoods, boys and girls can spot toxic waste and have called attention of these problems to local officials.  Furthermore, students are teaching parents and siblings good hygiene practices and preventing untold numbers of illnesses among family members.

In small, but profound ways, HTAC's environmental education program is giving Afghan youth the knowledge and tools to take personal responsibility for their personal health, improving environmental conditions in their local communities, and as they become adults, help influence environmental legislation in Afghanistan that will help protect and restore the country's forests, wildlife, air and waterways.. 

Dec 4, 2013

We're helping a new generation of Afghan girls

Narges from Sorya High School
Narges from Sorya High School

Every year, HTAC provides educational support for about 3,000 Afghan girls, and for every one of them there is a personal story of a girl striving to complete her education, gaining marketable skills and hoping to make a better life for herself. 

Narges, an incredibly bright, hardworking student at Sorya Girls High School in Kabul, is part of a new generation of Afghan girls who is destined to make a difference for her country with our help.  Her story inspires all of us at HTAC to work hard and continue giving Afghan children opportunities to succeed.  Narges shares her story:

"First, I want to thank the HTAC organization that helps Afghan children.  My name is Narges from Ghazni Province and a student of Sorya Girls School.  I always put my full effort into everything I do.  I am enthusiastic, friendly and cooperative, both in and out of school, but I still try to improve myself more."

"Ever since I was little, there have been two careers that have sparked my interest and that I wanted to pursue.  My first choice is to become a teacher.  Many of the teachers I've had in the past have made it clear that their job is rewarding and interesting.  My one goal in my life is to find something that I weould love to do for the rest of my life and stick with it and that would definitely be accomplished if I went into the education field.  I love working with people and can absolutely see myself as being a teacher."

"The second career I would consider is nursing, which I got from my aunt who attended Illinois State University in America.  She enjoyed her courses and loves her nursing job today.  We've always been really close and she's inspired me to pursue my education beyond high school and gain a profession where I can truly help others in need, such as nursing.  She is the one person in my family whom I have a lot in common with, and it would mean so much to me if I could follow in her footsteps."

HTAC is proud to be a continuing partner with schools such as Sorya Girls High School in providing enriched courses and giving girls like Narges a chance to dream and achieve their goals.

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