Save Rural Afghan Women & Children With Healthcare


A recent report by “Save the Children” listed Afghanistan as the worst place to be a woman.  One reason for this was the very high mortality rate.  According to that report, the lifetime risk of maternal death is 1 in 11, and the life expectancy of a female in Afghanistan is 45.

 AIL continues to reach more people, especially women, through their health education programs.  Subjects taught include women’s health, violence against women, reproductive health, first aid, self-immolation, family planning, vaccinations, nutrition and other topics requested by participants. 

 Additionally, AIL began a pilot program for Expectant Mothers in November, 2010.  We are beginning to see the results of this program, and they are very positive. Since the Expectant Mother program workshops started in November 2010:

  • only 6 mothers from the 37 who attended workshops in November 2010 through February 2011 gave birth at home.  The vast majority have had their babies at the clinic or hospital. This is remarkable in a society where home birth is the norm and where today’s mothers were most likely born at home and have mothers themselves or mothers in law who believe home birth the accepted practice as they themselves experienced it.  These women have little or no access to women who have had births at clinics or hospitals so they are stepping out of the known in choosing a clinic birth.
  • Only one stillbirth and one complication were recorded for the 37 women who have had their babies since attending a workshop. This is a rate of  2.7%. The national average is currently recorded by UNFPA for stillbirth as 70 per 1000 live births and by Afghan government as 5.2% in 2010 for neonatal death.
  • There have been no maternal deaths compared to national rate of 820 deaths per 100,000 births (UNFPA) and as 1.4% by UNICEF

A doctor in one of AIL’s rural clinics shared the following story: 

“One day a woman came into our clinic with her baby. She said the baby was very weak and had some breathing problems.  After weighing and measuring the baby, it was clear that the baby was undernourished.  I asked the mother if the baby had been given powder formula and she said yes.  She had breastfed the baby until she was one year old and then gave her formula.  I talked with the mother about good nutrition and about feeding the baby less at one time but more times per day.  I gave her some nutrition powder and other medicine for the baby.  The lady came back two weeks later to get some more medicine and then she returned two weeks after that and her baby was doing much better.  I weighed and measured the baby again and this time it was better.  The mother was so happy that the baby was doing so much better.”

According to all of the AIL Health staff, “It is the health education and the personal attention  that we give the patients that has made the most difference in the health of the women and children who come to our clinics.”

Five Reasons to Celebrate

The year 2010 has been one of many challenges for people throughout the world. In Afghanistan, insecurity, violence, and poverty continue to threaten communities. But the people of Afghanistan are strong and hopeful, and they are working hard to overcome these challenges. At the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL), we see it every day. You can help Afghans, particularly women and children, to create a better future for themselves and their families with a contribution to AIL through Global Giving.   

Looking back upon the year, what we focus on are our reasons to celebrate.

  • As a generous donor to AIL, you are a gift to us and to the people of Afghanistan. We thank you and they thank you!!!

In fact, you make all of the other reasons to celebrate possible.  Here is the rest of AIL’s top five reasons to celebrate in 2010:

  • Fatima’s story. Fatima is 22 is and has just graduated from Herat University and come to work with AIL. As a young girl, her school was closed by the Taliban.  She continued studying in one of AIL’s underground home schools and in 2002, reentered high school, graduated and went on to university. Today, her dream, we are humbled to learn, is to work for AIL. She said, “AIL works for people, AIL helps needy people and AIL works among people.  Also AIL’s wish is that Afghan woman and girls can support themselves and their families so the Afghan woman and girls are interested in this project.”
  • Each of the more than 7.9 million people (70% female) who have participated in AIL’s programs since 1996 is a reason to celebrate.  In spite of many challenges, they have chosen to improve their lives and their communities by attending AIL’s Teacher Training, Learning Centers, workshops, and schools; seeking health care and health education at AIL’s health clinics; or receiving AIL’s Community Health Workers into their homes.
  • AIL’s new gynecological and surgical hospital opened in October 2010. It is the only private women’s hospital in Herat province. To keep the reasons to celebrate continuing, fees paid by patients who can afford them will eventually help subsidize AIL’s services at community-based clinics.
  • The Cultural Association Center, a new Learning Center AIL opened in April 2010, located in a rural area about 50 km from Herat City.  The people of the area are very poor and primarily illiterate.  The community learned about AIL’s ability to help them offer educational opportunities to their citizens and worked together to build a small facility. Although all communities are involved in the establishment and sustainability of their centers, this rural area was able to rally its citizens to make this project a success. Through November, nearly 300 students, all of them female, have attended courses at the Center. Subjects included Arabic, Tailoring/Sewing, Math, and Literacy.


Your renewed support will help AIL and the Afghan people start 2011 with renewed hope. If you have not yet renewed your support for AIL, please donate today and tell a friend. Thank you and best wishes.

Grateful and Undaunted

At this time of year, we are reminded of our many blessings and how the people in our lives enrich us and bring joy to every day. All of us at the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) are especially grateful to you, for your generous support of our efforts to help the people of Afghanistan overcome many challenges. Through education, teacher training, health care programs, and emergency assistance, as one woman put it, “… AIL is like an experienced mother in our society who is here to get more information to the women of Afghanistan.” We are able to serve that vital role – for the women, men, and children of Afghanistan – because of your contribution. Thank you!

As you celebrate this Holiday Season and anticipate the approach of the New Year, we hope that you will think of us again and make another donation to help ensure AIL is able to continue our work. You have most likely heard that Afghanistan continues to suffer terrible insecurity and poverty. But AIL is undaunted by the headlines because we know that the people of Afghanistan are working hard every day to improve their lives and the future of their country. Together with the people of Afghanistan, we are confident because we know that people like you believe in us and stand by us.

When you make your donation, check out the Tribute Card and Gift Card options – and please tell a friend about AIL and encourage them to make a donation too. As AIL’s founder and executive director, Dr. Sakena Yacoobi has said, “Reach out to others and give a gift to yourself."

No matter what our circumstances today, when we believe in each other and work together, we can be assured that tomorrow will be better. Seasons Greetings and thank you again.

Sakena Yacoobi

AIL Executive Director

Following is a story about how the pharmacist at AIL’s Maladan Clinic in Herat helped a boy and his mother: 

Farhad is 7 years old and he lives in Maladan. One day he was very sick and his mother carried Farhad to the clinic with a bad condition. Farhad had a very Acute  Enteritis and he had a rapid pulse, dry mouth and very dangerous vomiting and diarrhea so he was almost unconscious. Farhad’s Mother was crying and asked me “why is my son dying? Why? Why? Why?”  I said “don’t cry-- we will help him and if God wants he will become healthy.” I rapidly transfused him with Ringer Fluid Serum; after one hour Farhad opened his eyes and said “I am thirsty give me water water water.” We gave Pedialyte Solution  to his mother to give for Farhad .

His mother said “I bought some ORS Powder from the pharmacy and the ORS is very tasteless so my son didn’t eat ORS.” I said “This Pedialyt is not tasteless.” His mother gave him pedialyte and he became better and better so his Mother prayed for all the  clinic staff.

I asked her “Why did your son get diarrhea?” She said: “we don’t have sanitation and faucet water and we drink uncovered well water.”

I said her “You must drink boiled water and you must cover your well soon”.

 She promised to cover their well and boil their water.

At the end of the serum I said “Please give him  Pedialyte on the way and in the house” so Farhad was very happy and well and went with his mother laughing.   

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Project Leader

Sakena Yacoobi

Founder & CEO
Dearborn, Michigan United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Save Rural Afghan Women & Children With Healthcare