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
Jul 30, 2012

Teachers role-modeling peace are crucial

teachers learn to role model peace
teachers learn to role model peace

While most Afghan teachers have good intentions in wanting their students to learn,  their lack of education and training unwittingly prevents quality learning and oftentimes breeds resentment and discontent among their students. A significant under-reported problem is that a large percentage of these teachers practice counter-productive corporal punishment where they hit, shake, yell at and intimidate students.  Such practices can be found among many female as well as male teachers and almost always, the effects of repeated corporal punishment over time are devastating to boys and girls.

The problem is not that these teachers are fundamentally bad people; it's because corporal punishment has been so imbedded into the Afghan teaching culture; that they themselves were beaten and yelled at in class when they were students.

As a cornerstone of Help the Afghan Children's peace education training, teachers quickly learn that there are alternatives to such aggressive behavior and that the benefits of such alternatives make their teaching more enjoyable and productive.  In our training classes, teachers learn to become listeners and facilitators; not simply authority figures.  They learn how to physically arrange a classroom to promote more open dialogue among students as well as between teachers and their students.  They learn and practice key positive role-modeling skills, such as encouraging students to voice their feelings and opinions without fear of reprisal. They learn the value of recognizing students who grasp a lesson or help another student.  Most importantly, they learn how to create an environment of trust and openness.

Since we began measuring teacher performance in 2010, 96% of over 2,000 teachers at our schools have completely abandoned all forms of corporal punishment and are motivating their students through kindness, guidance, and respect. 

Jul 30, 2012

Afghan girl overcomes challenges

12th grader Asia
12th grader Asia

Despite the encouraging headlines that more Afghan girls are enrolled in school than prior years, the sad truth is too many of these girls drop out of school due to the economic hardship their families face and all-too-often, are forced into early marriage and childbearing. 

This unfortunate scenario seemed to be the story of 9th grader Asia, a bright, talented student who dreamed of one day learning the computer, but her school lacked a computer facility and classes.  Asia knew of a computer course not that far from her neighborhood, but it was not free and her parents were poor.  A high school in another district did offer classes for students, but leaving her neighborhood was very dangerous as security for girls was poor. 

When her family decided to move to a safer district, Asia's life changed dramatically.  The school Asia enrolled in had a computer laboratory and a caring teacher who took Asia under her wing.  Although she had never touched a computer in her life, within a year Asia had mastered Windows, MS Word, MS Excel and Power Point.  Her teacher was astounded.  Never had she seen a girl progress so rapidly in gaining computer skills and applying them so effectively. In addition, Asia became a unofficial computer coach and mentor for many of the other girls in her class.

By the time Asia entered the 12th grade, her remarkable achievements had caught the attention of the Behzad Institute of Computer and English Language in Kabul and after a stellar interview, she was hired to become a computer instructor.  Needless to say, Asia's parents are extremely proud and the money Asia earns goes a long way to help her family economically.

HTAC is proud to support the computer education program at Asia's school.  Afghan girls can do remarkable things if we given them a chance. 

May 7, 2012

More girls enrolled in HTAC's computer ed. program

The new school year began in Afghanistan in late March and this year, another 2,760 Afghan high school girls enrolled in HTAC's well-regarded computer education program.  To date, 24,717 girls have enrolled in this life-changing course.

Girls (like boys) learn all key computer skills- Windows, Word, Excel, Power-Point (and for those schools equipped), how to navigate the internet. To make computer learning both fun and meaningful, students get to use the computer to complete school assignments and work on various projects. For a recent cultural exchange project, a class of girls researched the state and town of their American sister school. Becoming computer literate by the time these girls graduate is critical if they are to have an opportunity to seek productive jobs in Afghanistan's expanding information technology marketplace.

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