Fast-Tracking Education for Afghan Women and Girls

 
$221,857
$53,143
Raised
Remaining

Recently, AIL was asked by the Afghan Ministry of Women’s Affairs to report on the impact AIL’s programs have had. We were amazed by our findings. Since beginning in 1996 through May 2009, 220,970 Afghans have been educated in AIL schools, centers and post-secondary programs and overall 6,778,026 Afghan lives have been directly impacted by AIL programs.

AIL was the first to begin fast track classes for females. They have proved to be very successful and the concept has been replicated throughout Afghanistan by other communities and organizations. During the first 6 months of 2009 your donations helped 7,864 Afghan women and girls attend fast-track classes at AIL centers across Afghanistan and in Peshawar, Pakistan. These classes give the students only the skills they need to make a better life for themselves and their families; they also open the students eyes to a world of possibility and give them a sense of self-worth.

We’d like to share two success stories from AIL students:

“My name is Shokreia. I live in a large family of thirteen people. Three of us are less literate, and my sister is can read the best since she is in 9th grade. I decided that I wanted to learn to read too, so I came to this center to take classes to become literate as well as learn about other issues from my teachers. Literacy is like a light that rescues us from unawareness and darkness. I hope to learn well until I can become a good teacher and do service to my compatriots. I want to be a teachers because our prophet was a teacher for all people, so it is a valuable job. I am in the literacy class, and now I can read book sand magazines. Also, I would like to take other classes such as English, computers, beautician and painting. I would like to say thank you to all of the AIL staff for their hard work to raise the capacity of women.”

“I was illiterate and my husband had graduated from high school. My husband’s mother told me that I should learn to read by participating in a literacy course, but that I must take the class at a center where there would not be any men in my class. I found the AIL center and decided to take classes here with my sisters. My husband’s mother has never come here with me, until today. She stood outside the class and watched as our Life Skills class was taught by a man, and I worried about what I should say to her. I began to relax as I realized that my teachers were good and moral people, and decided that I must be patient and after class I would talk to my husband’s mother. When I came out of class, I saw her standing there and I shared with her all of the things I had learned. She told me that she could hear that I was being taught well, and that she would like to join our class.”

AIL recently received an update from Hafisa, a young woman that had taken classes at a Women’s Learning Center in rural Herat, Afghanistan. As a teenage girl, Hafisa began going to the WLC in her village where she became literate and learned to sew. In all of her classes, the teachers talked about human rights, peace, health and leadership, emphasizing that anyone can be a leader, even if in a small way. After graduating from the center, Hafisa was married and moved away. Hafisa’s sewing skills quickly made her popular in her new village with many people bringing her dresses for sewing. Soon, people in the village began asking her to open a center and teach other women to sew. Hafisa remembered the leadership lessons she learned at the AIL WLC in her village and knew that she could start a class. Starting a center to teach women to sew is a fairly novel concept. At first, her family ignored the requests, but due to community persistence, Hafisa’s family eventually allowed her to open a center in her home. Now she uses one room of her house to teach a sewing class and has 40 students. She collects a fee from the students, and this income has helped to change her family’s economic situation. She is respected in her community and her family is proud of her. Whenever she goes to her own village to see her parents, she visits the AIL center and thanks AIL for giving her the opportunity to be a useful person in her community. Not only did Hafisa learn to sew, she learned to be a leader and found that she could run a self-sufficient center.

During 2008 AIL educated 14,408 women and girls in Fast-Track classes in its Women’s Learning Centers (WLC) and schools. The girls that attend AIL classes range from school age girls looking for extra help and to gain new skills to older women attending literacy courses. Many of the older women begin coming to the center to learn a new skill, such as sewing, and end up also participating in AIL’s literacy courses.

We would like to share with you comments from three of the female beneficiaries of AIL’s programs. The three women range in age from 14 to 45 and lead very different lives, but all have found AIL programs to be invaluable to improving their quality of live.

The first story is that of a 45 year old widow who has 6 children. She says “My oldest son is 23 and he works during the day. It’s been very difficult for all 7 of us to live on the money my son earns. I heard from a neighbor that there is a center near our village, and I decided to join this center to help my family. I would like to thank AIL for establishing such a center for the poor people of my village.”

The second story is that of a 14 year old girl that was struggling with her classes in a regular school. She says, “I am 14 years old and studying chemistry at this center. I am very interested to learn English and science, but I have a great deal of problems in chemistry, so I decided to first solve my problems in chemistry, then I will join other classes. I would like to thank the AIL office.”

That last story is that of a married woman who has come to an AIL center to continue her education. She says, “I am studying in a literacy class. I went to a regular school until 5th grade, but because of my situation I did not finish school. After a long time, I got married and now I have 3 children and could not go back to school, so I have started coming to the center to receive an education and solve my problems.”

Dear Global Giving Donors,

We would like to send a huge thank you to those that donated to AIL’s Fast Tracking Education project during the challenge grant period! We were successful in meeting and exceeding our goal of raising at least $5000 and receiving donations from at least 50 donors; in fact, we raised a total of $6,020 from 55 donors. Thank you for helping us to secure our $2,500 bonus from Global Giving.

Also, we have some great news to share: the Safer World Fund has decided to match dollar for dollar every donation made to our Fast Tracking Education project, which means that the grand total raised during the challenge period is $14,540! With this money, AIL will be able to provide literacy classes to 224 women and girls

Thank you once again for your generous support of our project. We appreciate you taking the time to make a difference in the lives of Afghan women and girls.

The educational opportunities available to older women in Afghanistan are almost non-existent. The Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) is where Afghan women older than the customary school age turn to gain the skills and education necessary to help improve their lives. We’d like to share a recent success story from a Women’s Learning Center (WLC) near Herat, Afghanistan with you. The following is what a 50 year old student, with two school age sons shared with our AIL Herat staff during one of their visits to the WLC she attends.

“I am very happy to sit in this class and learn how to read and write.” As she showed her work to the supervisors, she was very happy and laughing. She continued, “My son, a university student encouraged me to come to this center. During the three months since I have began here, I have learned more than my younger son who is in the 6th grade in a regular school. My young son came to me one day and asked for my help with his school work. I began to laugh, and joked with him ‘Shame on you. I have learned more in three months than you have learned in school!’ He replied, ‘Mom! You know there are no good teachers in the regular schools and we just waste our time there. It is not my fault, but a problem with the system.’ The women then smiled and said, “I have promised my son attending the university that I will compete with him. I am sure I can reach a higher class.” AIL is making a difference in the lives of Afghan women and children by giving them access to education, and ultimately, hope for a better future.

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Project Leader

Sakena Yacoobi

Founder & CEO
Dearborn, Michigan United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Fast-Tracking Education for Afghan Women and Girls