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
We would like to thank you for your support of AIL’s Carpet Weaving project. Preserving this important cultural art is just one of AIL’s many goals, and thanks to your support the class is creating numerous works of art. The Carpet Weaving class made many great strides in the past few months. Students in the class created more than 25 carpets and rugs through January, and are currently all working on a huge project. Students in the class are now working on weaving a 36 foot long carpet!
Your support is supplemented by the weavers themselves who are producing some very high quality work. They are selling their rugs and carpets in the local market, and using the proceeds to purchase more materials to create more of these works of art. These works are inspirational to the students at the centers because they can see firsthand the quality of work AIL delivers. Women in the markets see the exceptional quality of the carpets and rugs and become inspired to learn how to do great things like the weavers.
We would like to thank you so much for your support of the Traditional Carpet Weaving program. Without supporters like you, we couldn’t have accomplished what we have or what we plan to do in the future. Thank you!!
AIL’s carpet weaving program is unique. The women who participate are trained in the art but have no room for a loom at any of their homes. These women work full time at an AIL center and sell their completed works for the benefit of the program. Aside from earning livings for their families, they are keeping alive a culturally significant art that is very important and unique to Afghanistan. Because one of AIL’s goals is to promote culture, we would like to expand this program to other centers in Afghanistan or Pakistan in the future.
The carpet weaving program recently sent us this picture of a rug in progress, and we thought that you would enjoy seeing it. We thank you all for your generous support! Please take some time to check out our annual newsletter attached to this report.
Dear GlobalGiving Donors,
Thank you so much for supporting the Afghan Institute of Learning’s (AIL) various projects on GlobalGiving. Over the years, the Global Giving donors have become invaluable to AIL. Through your generous support, AIL has been able to provide Afghans with education, health care, training and more.
It is your continued support that is now allowing AIL to evolve along with the young people of Afghanistan. We’d like to share with you the story of how one young woman’s life has been changed thanks to one of AIL’s programs:
I am a 19-year-old woman with two children. I had always wanted to go to school and learn to read, but there was not a school close to my home. It was not safe for me to try and travel to another village to go to school, but I always told myself that if I could go to school, I would be able to get a job and reach my goals.
It was painful to me when my brother learned to read and write, but I couldn’t. One day I watched some women and children who were going somewhere. When I saw that one of them was a woman who had an 8-year-old girl with her, I stopped her and said “Excuse me. Where are you going?” She answered, “A learning center has been established for illiterate women and their children recently. I am going to register myself and my children.”
When I heard this, I was so happy and I said to her, “Please wait a minute. I want to go with you and start to take classes too.” I joined them on their way to the learning center. When we arrived, I was so excited because I saw a lot of women there who had been learning.
Now, I can read and write and I can say proudly that I am literate. I have also learned to be healthy and to be a leader. I am reaching out and touching my wishes and goals. I thank AIL for this opportunity to reach my goals.
Thank you for the support that you give to AIL. We are so grateful to all of our supporters for their continued support of our projects on GlobalGiving. Thank you!
All of us at Creating Hope International (CHI) and the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) would like to thank our donors for their support of carpet weaving classes in our learning centers. Carpet weaving is an art in Afghanistan, and is very culturally significant. Every carpet is different in its own way; each piece tells a story and reflects the everyday experiences of the Afghan people. Teaching people how to make them preserves this sacred art for future generations. Your donations have helped to make this a possibility.
Currently, one of our learning centers offers a course in carpet weaving. We have had five students taking the course for more than six months now and their work is starting to yield results. In May, students of the class finished a carpet that they had been working on for the better part of three months, thanks in part to a local businessman who donated over 50 pieces of fabric to the class. Another two rugs were completed by two students in July. One featured a mural of a 15th century monument to Gohar Shad Begum, a very complex piece that reflects the long and noteworthy history of Herat, Afghanistan.
The carpets themselves are significant to the Afghan people, but what’s more is the support the students are receiving from the local community. AIL learning centers are bringing communities closer together. The carpets produced are an example of the combined skill, effort, and support of the entire community. No one can put a value on that. Because of your donations, we can keep this project going into the future. Thank you all for your support!
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