In 2009, AIL provided health services to 191,251 women and children through its five health clinics in Herat and Kabul provinces and through Community Health Worker outposts. In conjunction with health care service, 171,341 women received health education. AIL provides education at every opportunity as this is the way to help people improve their health and welfare.
A midwife of an AIL clinic said: Jamila and Saeda are friends. Jamila came from the first day to the clinic for her pre-pregnancy education, but Saeda didn't come to learn and to solve her pregnancy problems. Saeda said that her mother in law said that she had given birth to 12 children and she didn't go even once to the clinic. Saeda was very nervous about her pregnancy. Jamila persuaded Saeda’s mother in law to let Saeda come to the clinic and that they would help her. She accepted the advice and they both came to the clinic and learned about pregnancy and how to solve any problems. Saeda gave birth to a healthy child and did the post natal care. She was so pleased and Saeda 's mother in law was also pleased and promised that if there is any pregnancy problem she will bring her Saeda to the clinic. Both thanked all the clinic staff.
Other AIL Accomplishments in 2009 included:
• AIL trained over 1,800 Afghan teachers in pedagogy subjects, leadership, human rights, and school health. These teachers went to their classes and directly impacted over 500,000 students teaching these important subjects.
• Nearly 23,000 students (primarily women and children) attended classes at AIL educational learning centers.
• In January 2010, AIL expanded humanitarian aid efforts with the harsh winter and reached out to 22 families in need. AIL staff delivered to each family quantities of rice, cooking oil and tea. Most heads of the family were widows with children from Herat, and were recommended by community members.
• In February 2010, flooding in the Enjil district of Herat destroyed many family homes, and AIL responded with a concerted effort of initial food aid.
Reminder: On March 16, 2010, GlobalGiving will be matching all donations made to any project on www.globalgiving.org by 30% (up to $1,000 per person)! If you could like to donate again to our project, your donation will go further on March 16th!!!
Afghanistan is in the news a lot these days. As a donor to a project in Afghanistan, you may be wondering if change is happening, and if your donation really makes any difference.
Following is a message from Dr. Sakena Yacoobi that answers your questions. It’s part of our annual newsletter, where we also share progress reports from several areas, and the impact AIL’s work is having in Afghan lives. This newsletter is below in a PDF format; we invite you to click on it and read ALL the details……
From Sakena Yacoobi:
First, I want to thank all of you for supporting the work of the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL). Your support is so important. Yes, the funds you send help us to bring education and health to so many Afghan women and children. But, more importantly, in this time of increasing violence and insecurity in Afghanistan, your support helps Afghans to know that they are not forgotten. It gives ordinary Afghan women, men and children the courage to keep studying, to keep going to clinics and to keep working for peace.
Today you probably hear that Afghanistan is a place of war, terrorist bombings, burning of schools, kidnapping, drugs and all kinds of other horrible things. And it is true that in every province of Afghanistan, including the capitol, every single day, these kinds of things are happening. But what you might not hear in your news is that everyday many women, men and children of Afghanistan get up in the morning….. say goodbye to their family…..and go to work….. go to schools and centers ….. go to trainings……because they know that they must be educated. They know that the only way they can stop these problems is to be educated. So they are learning, they are teaching and they are not afraid.
And when there is no electricity or no clean water or no school or no road or no job and there is no help from the national government or the international agencies, Afghans, particularly women, are joining together in community or with their local officials to find ways to solve their own
problems. And, with your help, AIL is helping them to do this.
I want to let you know that as dark as it seems to be in Afghanistan now, much is happening. Afghans, themselves, are changing. They are educating themselves; they are making sure that their children are educated; they are finding new ways to solve their problems. I would ask you to walk with us a little further on our journey towards peace.
TO READ the rest of our annual newsletter, please click on the PDF link below and it will open for your inspection-
Thank you for your support. Your desire to make a difference in this world has made a difference, and we are so thankful that Afghan people have had their lives changed with your help.
We wanted to share with you a very special opportunity to give more than 100% from November 10 through December 1st. Please share this with those you know who care. During this time, we are privileged to receive additional matching funds from your donation through Global Giving of at least 30%. The need is still great. Afghanistan struggles to become a country of strength and stability.
Recently, a visitor to an AIL clinic had this to share: “My name is Karima. I am 18 years old and single and I had a very bad pain in my stomach. I could not eat anything I visited many people and took many natural herbal medicines to relieve the pain but I still had the problem. When I visited the clinic the doctors checked me and they also did some laboratory tests. They found that I had very bad intestinal problem, so they started treatment and now I am feeling well.”
An AIL midwife at one of the clinics described how she assisted in a delivery: “A patient came from Robat Torkan at 8:30am for delivery. She was afraid because she had had vaginal bleeding in previous deliveries. We encouraged her and told her not to worry. After an exam we gave her Amp Oxytocine, and serum ringer 1000cc and at 10 o'clock she gave birth. The baby weighed 4 kg and was normal. After delivering the mother had bleeding. The doctor ordered the necessary medicines to stop the bleeding. By 2pm, the patient was normal and we gave her advice and education. She thanked us for our services and was so happy. She then left the clinic with her new baby.”
There's a new focus on women worldwide. The New York Times magazine dedicated their entire issue one week in August on women in the developing world. Of particular focus was a newly launched book written by the well-known Pulitzer winning couple Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl DuWunn titled: "Half The Sky: Turning Oppression Into Opportunity for Women Worldwide". The press focus on this timely book is significant- from reviews in Harvard and People magazine, to upcoming segments on shows like "The Today Show", the time has come for women and their issues worldwide to be in the spotlight.
Sakena Yacoobi and her organization the Afghan Institute of Learning is one of the topics in Chapter Nine of the book. Dr. Yacoobi grew up in Herat, Afghanistan and then came to the United States to study at the University of the Pacific and Loma Linda University. Concerned about the condition of her people back in Afghanistan, Sakena returned to Pakistan to work in Afghan refugee camps and later went to Afghanistan. Although the Taliban forbade girls from getting an education in Afghanistan, Sakena was instrumental in establishing a string of secret girls schools with community support.
Today, the Afghan Institute of Learning has multiple education programs in Pakistan and in seven provinces of Afghanistan. There are educational learning centers for women and children, preschool programs, post-secondary institutes, a university, and teacher training programs. In addition, AIL has an in-depth program of health education and treatment for women and small children. Since its start in 1995, AIL has trained nearly 16,000 teachers and over 3.5 million women and children have received a quality education. With the health programs included, AIL has directly impacted over 6.7 million Afghans.
Sakena has been and continues to be recognized for her work. Her philosophy is to develop a program from the grass-roots level so the community members are an integral part of the process. State Kristof and DuWunn in their book Half The Sky- "American organizations would have accomplished much more if they had financed and supported Sakena, rather than dispatching their own representatives to Kabul...The best role for Americans who want to help Muslim women isn't holding the microphone at the front of the rally, but writing the checks and carrying the bags in the back."
Dr. Yacoobi and the work of the Afghan Institute of Learning have been supported by multiple grantors and organizations over the years. "I wish to thank everyone who has helped in this important work," states Sakena. "I want to share with each and every contributor the joy of seeing a young woman, who has a renewed interest in life because she can now read, or the happiness of a widow who has learned a skill that will allow her to support her children.
"We now have children who are healthy because of inoculations, and women who did not die during childbirth who have happy, healthy babies. My wish is that these small steps that allow awareness and growth in families will lead to the growth of our country."
Recently, we spoke with Sakena, and she has this message to all the supporters of AIL:
"It is an honor to be included in Nicholas' and Sheryl's book Half The Sky. So many foundations and individuals have contributed to the work that the Afghan Institute of Learning has been able to do in Afghanistan.
"From the bottom of my heart I want to thank all who have understood the plight of Afghan women and children, and have reached out with compassionate, caring support.
"May God reward your generosity......."
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 and received skills training in AIL schools, centers and post-secondary programs. 27, 619 Afghans (more than 70% female) have received teacher training or capacity-building training. AIL has supported 13 clinics serving 998,088 patients and providing health education to 1,520,374 women and children. Overall 6,778,026 Afghan lives have been directly impacted by AIL programs.
During 2008 AIL’s four clinics treated a total of 147,889 patients and provided health education to 84,614 Afghans. In addition, the Community Health Worker program in Herat reached out to 76,345 families.
In June 2009, AIL opened a new clinic to treat patients in Kabul Province. During the first 6 months of 2009, these five clinics have treated 97,816 patients (an increase of 34,470 patients from this time last year) and have provided health education to 45,406 Afghans. The Community Health Worker program has reached out to 33,906 families so far this year.
In addition to AIL’s usual health activities AIL is holding a nine month training in health for 215 teachers from Herat area schools. After being trained, the teachers are returning to their schools to teach students about health and train other teachers in their school to teach health to their students. Topics for the workshops include basic health care, personal sanitation, infectious diseases, first aid, how to tell when a student is sick and many others. Here is what a few of the teachers had to say about the new School Health Program after their first workshop:
“The workshop was excellent because I learned about many personal and social issues and I can convey this information to my students. The trainers implemented student-centered methods and they let all of the participants take part in the discussions. They were kind and respected all of the ideas they heard. The atmosphere in the workshop was so friendly that everyone felt comfortable and could learn easily. The most interesting subject for me was health education and private sanitation. The day after learning about these things I went back to my school and taught all of my students to have their own hanky, soap and glass for water. I also taught them that they must not use things from others to prevent the spread of infectious disease.”
“The teaching methods were excellent and we received a lot of information about school health. The trainer’s behavior was so kind, and the most interesting subject for me was infectious disease. I learned to prevent the spread of infectious disease, which I think is very important for school teachers. I am so happy to have had the chance to attend this workshop. I can teach all of these topics to my students to increase their awareness.”
“I thought all of these subjects were interesting and useful because they have a direct effect on our daily life. Every day we face these issues in the school, and outside them too. The problems that students in my school are facing are diarrhea, typhoid, dysentery and eye problems. The day that we studied cholera and diarrhea in the workshop, I involved myself in the discussion. The trainers told me to make sure that I help students with diarrhea is by making sure they are getting liquids, use medicine and pay attention to personal and environmental sanitation. I did as our trainers said, and it helped my students. It was a very useful workshop. I hope all the issues which we studied can be implemented in all schools and help us to have healthier students. Being healthy will help them to learn their lessons better because as our trainers said, a sound mind is in a sound body.”
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