Every now and then we receive a truly inspirational story that exemplifies the effect that AIL can have on the lives Afghan refugees. The following is one such story that we found very moving and would like to share with you.
My name is Fauzia and I am a 22-year old female originally from Kabul. 17 years ago my family came to Pakistan. I was 5 and the right age to begin attending school, but because of my family’s unfortunate situation I wasn’t able to go. Neither were my brother or sister. At that time, we lived in a refugee camp, which has since been destroyed. We then moved into an old house near by.
My father was very poor, and had a heart problem. We went to a doctor at the free hospital and my father was given lots of medicine, but it did not help. Day by day, my father became more ill. Finally, after four years my father died.
My mother was an illiterate woman. She did her best, finding homes of Pakistani and Afghan people to work in. She washed clothes and dishes, and cleaned houses. At this time my siblings and I were 7, 5, and 1 years old. When my mother went to work, we stayed home with my sick father and once he passed away, we were locked in the home. Day by day, we grew older, but we never knew what school was. What is education? What is knowledge?
After many years, we began to notice many children going to school, and I asked my mother where these children in special clothing, with special bags were going. She told me there were going to school to learn. I asked why didn’t we go to school and my mother told me that school was not for poor people, only the rich. The rich have money, and without money no one can go to school. I accepted what my mother told me as the truth.
I began working with my mother cleaning houses, and two years ago I became engaged. One day my fiancée asked me why I didn’t ever go to school. I told him it was because school is not for poor people. My fiancée told me that school is for everyone. It’s for boys and girls to get knowledge. I thought it was too late for my brothers and sisters and I to go, but my fiancée helped us. He knew about an AIL center and spoke with my mother to get permission my sisters and I to attend glasses.
We went to the center and joined the literacy and sewing classes. We learned so many new things. In literacy class we learned to read and write. In sewing we learned cutting and sewing. Because of our classes, we are now able to solve our many problems.
I got married, and I am very happy with my in-laws. My sisters attend courses and the center, and now they sew clothing for money so my mother does not have to work cleaning homes. I am so thankful to AIL for all of the positive changes their classes have brought to my family’s life. We always pray for AIL and for Dr. Sakena Yacoobi.
The Afghan Institute of Learning Peshawar Office continues to offer classes at two, separate Learning Centers located within the confines of an Afghan Refugee Camp. In addition, they support three different schools in the area that serve Afghan Refugees. The numbers of students in the first quarter remained steady, with more than 500 students attending the Learning Centers and nearly 1600 attending the schools.
In March, a 20-day Technique Seminar was held for 39 newer teachers from these Centers and Schools. In addition, three mini workshops were held at each school concerning the subjects of lesson plans, involving students and solving student’s problems. The teachers at the Centers are monitored each month and advised if anything in their performance needs to be addressed.
Please remember that Wednesday, June 13th (beginning at 12:01 AM EST) is a Bonus Day through Global Giving. Donations received that day will be provided a matching gift of 30, 40 or 50 percent.
Since 1995, the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) has been helping Afghans lift themselves above the devastation of war by providing education, training, health care, and health education. AIL’s approach is to interlink health and education programs, like building blocks that together form a whole structure. While delivering these basic services AIL has also been able to promote critical thinking skills and model and teach human rights, women’s rights, peace, democracy, and leadership. With new skills and information, Afghans are becoming empowered and hopeful. Through your financial support, you have been a part of these seeds of systemic change.
Through the natural progression that exists when people begin to think for themselves, AIL often receives requests from Afghans who want to find ways to work together to promote love, understanding, and forgiveness to their people in order to return to a peaceful way of life; the way of their country’s history. Supported by Fetzer Institute, AIL is responding to these requests by holding an International Conference on Love and Forgiveness this Spring that will be shared throughout the country and internationally via film. This conference will focus on the study of Afghan poets and musicians, particularly the work of Mawlana (Rumi). Participating in the conference will be poets, writers, Sufis and government representatives from all parts of Afghanistan and the world.
Joining the Conference, in person, or via film or writings, are:
AIL invites you to join Afghans in thought and through your own study of music and poetry that brings us all closer to the peaceful world we endeavor to achieve.
It is always especially poignant to me when I hear a story of hope from someone who lives in very difficult circumstances. Here is a story from an afghan refugee who is now attending the Zarghoona Ana Learning Center in Pakistan:
“My name is Zakara and I am from Panjshir Province. I live with my father and my two young brothers. My mother died when I was five and I have had to take care of our home and my brothers. Because my family is very poor, I could not afford to go to school before. My family lives very far from the city, but recently I came to the city to work cleaning houses, washing clothes and washing dishes to earn money and support my family. One of the houses that I worked in is near the Zarghoona Ana Center, and the children from my employer’s family go to this Center. I told my father about the Center and he said go there and get an education. So now, I work half a day and go to the Center the other half and attend literacy class.
I hope to complete my education and become a good teacher in the future. I will then help other people as they have helped me and I will open a free school for the poor.”
Please keep in mind that Wednesday, March 14, 2012 is Bonus Day through GlobalGiving. Donations up to $1,000.00 will be provided with a 30% match. The bonus allotment is $50,000.00 and the period runs from 12:01 AM EST until the funds are exhausted. So, if you would like your donation to go a little further with the help of GlobalGiving, give early on March 14th. Thank you!
During 2011, nearly 1300 students attended classes in the two Learning Centers established in Pakistan for Afghan refugees. Additionally, there are three schools in the area that the Afghan Institute of Learning helps to support that have more than 4000 students, of which the majority are Afghan refugees.We fully believe that education is key in providing a brighter future forthese refugees. Thank you to all of you who helped this year.
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.
Founder & CEO