As elsewhere in the world, computing skills are highly desirable to employers. Students are aware of this fact and are also fascinated by computers. The boys computing class in one village in Kabul Province is always full. This class was set up as an offshoot from the Learning Center (LC) established in the village by AIL in 2002 and also the medical clinic. The LC provided literacy, math, English and sewing skills training as well as advanced classes for boys who needed remedial work for school. The center then decided to set up a computer class as this was frequently requested. The class teaches Word, Excel and Windows.
Many of AIL’s centers offer computing classes and in September, in Herat Province there were 512 students (346 female) studying computing at LCs. There is also a special English and Computing 6 month course offered at a few centers. In Kabul this combined class has 308 students at 2 sites. The latter course is especially popular as it combines two highly regarded skills and makes navigating the internet that much easier.
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There is no getting away from it- computing is a needed skill for many people. The young of Afghanistan like their counterparts worldwide are intrigued by the computer. The classes in computing offered by AIL are highly regarded and fill fast. Graduates go on to gain jobs easily.
One class held in a village in Kabul Province has 9 boys who will have a solid computing background by the end of the course. Many other AIL Learning Centers offer computing sometimes in conjunction with English classes. In the month of June in Herat Province there were 570 students studying computers including 373 females (259 are girls ages 10-19). In Kabul Province there were 304 computing students that same month.
Students remark how they “enjoy the class and want to learn more and are grateful for this opportunity”.
Let’s put our hands together, let’s get together.
Our hands hold our votes and our votes hold our future.
My fellow citizen It’s my vote, it’s your vote
It’s a privilege for enduring peace
My dear fellow citizen, with our vote leadership is in our hands.
On April 5th, an historic election was held in Afghanistan. Over 7 million voters participated, and the elections were generally a peaceful affair. We at AIL hosted election workshops leading up to the vote, and asked the managers of our Learning Centers to educate students at the centers about why the vote was important, what steps they needed to take in order to vote, how to research and select candidates, and how to vote.
The effort to encourage Afghans to vote was not limited to our workshops and Learning Centers however. At a private school owned by Dr. Sakena Yacoobi (our CEO) the Arts and Culture Teacher, Mehrjui, set a poem she had written about the election to music. The song encourages all Afghans to become aware of their responsibilities, to select a good candidate for President and to vote. The PSYPS Arts and Culture students sang this song at a celebration on International Women’s Day as well as at our election workshops. The song was incredibly well received, moving many in the audience.
The students, staff, and administration at the school quickly realized how powerful their song was, so with the help of the AIL Academic Advisor and the AIL video production team, they set about recording their song so that it could be shared with a wider audience. They had no idea how popular the song was about to become.
The song quickly went viral, being aired on Afghanistan’s National TV station, as well as on eleven other stations. The song has been played many times over and candidates running for president even asked if they could buy the song to use in their campaign. The PSYPS students and staff declined to sell the song, deciding the purpose of the song was to encourage all Afghans to participate in the elections, not to support just one candidate.
As Afghanistan moves closer to a runoff election this summer, the song continues to be played on the radio and the video over the airwaves. In short, the song continues to encourage Afghans to participate in the upcoming elections and to make sure their voices are heard.
We encourage you to take a moment to view the video made by the students, to read the lyrics below and to see the hope in these young people’s faces. After watching, we hope that you will stand with the youth of Afghanistan, and join us as we work with them to create a peaceful future for their nation.
With one vote, we can be our sultan, our voice
For a better choice for a better leader
My dear fellow citizen, with our vote leadership is in our hand
My fellow citizen, stride, my fellow citizen!
With the name of God, we speak from the power of our thoughts
From our decision, unity, humanity and right
No longer speak of suicide bombing, explosion, but of creativity and pride
Don’t speak of the hills under the thorn
Speak of the friendship of verdant soil and the rose garden
Speak of spring, spring and spring
Let’s hope that this spring Afghanistan will turn into a magnificent garden. A garden in which the smell of every rose invites the world for a spectacle.
Let’s hope for a different spring, for a different year and for a different Afghanistan
Don’t forget my fellow citizen, our rendezvous is in front of ballot boxes on April 5, 2014
Our choice is the remedy
Our choice is for the day of rendezvous
Who we want will be crowned sultan
Attend the opportunity with passion and turn the enemies into wretches
This colored finger is the guiding path and this fist is the hummer for the oppressor
Thank you so much for your support of our project. Your support has helped the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) to provide computer classes for hundreds of students. AIL’s computer classes have become know for being high quality, and the graduates of these courses are sought after for well paying jobs.
While attending the computer and English class at the AIL center, I had to study hard and do my homework, so I went to the public library every day. There I met an old woman; she was the librarian. She found me interesting and hard working, and she suggested that I take the exam to work at the library when I graduated from my AIL courses. After six months of classes, I graduated, passed the library’s exam, and got the job! Now I have been working with in the English and computer sections. I not only earn a good salary, I also get the chance to study my favorite books as often as I like. I help hundreds of young women who come to the library to study English and computer. I have also made many friends. I am so thankful to AIL for these opportunities.
Another student says:
On the second week of my AIL computer class, my homework assignment was to search for something on the internet. I went to an internet café to do my homework, and I saw so many women using the internet. This gave me the idea to start my own internet café after graduating from the class. I began to learn as much as I could. Once I graduated from the six month long course, I found an investor and opened my own internet café. I have a lot of customers and earn a good salary. In addition, my personality has changed for the better. I am respected in my community and can communicate with people around the world. For example, I now have hundreds of friends on Facebook and I chat with them and share ideas about the issues facing Afghanistan. In fact, I am going to begin taking an online university course soon. Before taking this computer course, I was a cashier in a big supermarket. My salary was not good, and the work was so difficult. Now, I like my job so much more. I thank AIL for teaching me how to use the computer and for giving me the opportunity to make my life more prosperous.
Again, we’d like to thank you for seeing the importance of this project. The men and women taking computer classes at AIL centers are able to turn their education in to well paying jobs to support their families, classes that you made possible.
Thank you for your support of AIL’s computer programs! AIL’s computer classes have gained a reputation for being very high quality, and since they are free and open to all, they are giving Afghans from many different walks of life the chance to learn how to use a computer.
Last year I was a student in the AIL computer course. After graduating I was able to get a job working as a cashier at a bank. I am lucky because I have a good job at the bank, and I think it is because I knew how to use the programs on the computer. My job is good for me; I am able to help my family with my salary. If I hadn’t learned to use the computer in AIL’s class, I wouldn’t have my job. – Farhad, 22 years old
My father did not like that I was going to a computer class, but I like to learn to use the computer and it was my dream to know how to use a computer. Before I started taking this class, we did not have a computer at home. After beginning the class, I was very happy to learn to use MS Office, the internet and to make a database. Now I can help my father with his job. My father even bought me a computer that I can work on at home. In the future I will learn more about the computer, and I would like to go to the university and learn to be an IT manager. – Samira, 14 years old
AIL’s computer class is giving Afghans new opportunities. Younger students are learning to use a computer and teaching their families about it. Older students are taking what they learned and using it to help them secure good jobs that they would not otherwise have access to. Your donation is helping them achieve these things! Thank you!
We hope that you will take a moment to look through our year end report and learn about the great things that have happened in AIL projects this year!
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