Learning Centers for Rural Afghan Women in Herat

Mar 5, 2014

From Illiteracy to Studying at the University

Young Students in a Learning Center
Young Students in a Learning Center

Hi everyone! The Afghan Institute of Learning is off to a great start this year. They now have 19 Learning Centers open and providing education in Herat, up from 17 this time last year. In order to keep up with the influx of new students attending these centers, teachers in the Herat Learning centers now number in the hundreds. Thanks to your support, AIL educated 13,000 students in Herat in 2013, nearly 10,000 of those students were women and girls. Herat Learning centers are experiencing healthy growth, and many communities are requesting learning centers of their own. As more numbers come in for 2014, we will be able to provide you with an even clearer picture of just what kind of impact you are making on the lives in women in Herat.

In December, one of AIL’s centers saw 22 women graduate from that center’s tailoring courses. Many of these women are in the process of starting their own businesses so they can make clothes to sell at their local market. They were very appreciative to AIL and supporters like you for giving them the chance to not only become independent, but also to be able to provide for their families.

Four students in another center took and passed the entrance exam to go to the University in Herat with flying colors. One of the girls who passed had this to say about her success:

“I have never imagined I could be able to read and write, but AIL managed to convince me to believe in my ability. Today I am a student of a university, which was beyond my expectations. I am going to change my life and the life of everyone in the community, the same as Professor Sakena Yacoobi does.  I feel myself in different world, full of energy and abilities that were given to me by AIL. I owe all my success to AIL.”

We would like to thank you again for your generous support of AIL’s programs. Without supporters like you, we couldn’t have accomplished what we have or what we plan to do in the future. Thank you!!

Dec 5, 2013

In their words...

Students in a Learning Center
Students in a Learning Center

All of us at the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) and Creating Hope International (CHI) want you thank you for your support this year and wish you and your families a very happy holiday season!

We have made a lot of progress this year. We recently opened 3 new learning centers near Herat for women and children who live too far away to go to our centers in Herat City. We have also opened a new center for orphaned street children to receive education and health care.

One of the literacy class students, who attends a center in rural Herat told us:

Four months ago when I was walking to the center, I felt that the distance between home and class was so far, but now it is so near. I found out why it is so, because four months ago I was unable to read the signboards on the sides of the streets, but now I am able to do so. It is very interesting for me. I am very keen to read every sign on the way to school. It makes me so happy and proud of myself.”

We thank you all for your generous support! Please take some time to check out our annual newsletter attached to this report. 

Nov 6, 2013

Thank you from AIL!

Thank you!
Thank you!

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!

Sep 6, 2013

Rural Herat Women Learning Real-World Skills

Women Sewing in an AIL Class
Women Sewing in an AIL Class

The Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) and Creating Hope International (CHI) thank our donors for their support of our learning centers in Herat. In the last six months, our 17 learning centers brought education to almost 9,000 Afghans, 6,000 of which were women. Through our educational workshops in Herat, we trained 643 more women in topics such as reproductive health, human rights, democracy, and leadership. AIL is making large strides in the progress and education of women and your donations are making it possible.

Aside from traditional educational courses such as literacy, Arabic, English, math and science, we offer skill-based courses in computers, tailoring, and weaving for women so that they can take these acquired skills and earn a living for their families. An illustrative example of this is the woman Afsana. Housebound and not allowed to go to school by her family, members of the community talked to her family and convinced them to allow her to go to a learning center in Sufi Abad, near Herat.

"My name is Afsana. I was living in Shindand district about 200km away from heart city. My husband is addicted. My family didn't let me study. When I saw people read and write and they could use computers I thought I went back to 100 years ago so I came here to change my life."

AIL registered her for classes and after she became literate, she was soon studying English and computer technology. In one year, she went from an illiterate housewife to working as an office assistant for a large company, due to her newfound computer skills. Afsana is one of many women whose lives have been completely changed by the education AIL provides through our learning centers.

We have a big year planned ahead and we hope to open more centers in the Herat region to better serve those who have the least access to education. We are just starting up a new set of mobile literacy workshops and classes for the Herat region in particular. Soon, more women and children from Herat will learn how to read using mobile phones as a learning tool. Again, we want to thank you all for your support of our programs!

Class in an AIL Learning Center
Class in an AIL Learning Center
Class in an AIL Learning Center
Class in an AIL Learning Center
Jun 11, 2013

More Great News from the Afghan Institute of Learning

Dr. Sakena Yacoobi receiving her hood at Princeton
Dr. Sakena Yacoobi receiving her hood at Princeton

So many wonderful things have happened for the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) in the last few weeks, and we’re very excited to share a few of them with you. 

First, on Tuesday the Executive Director of AIL, Sakena Yacoobi received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Princeton University. The official citation reads: 

With a profound reverence for the well-being of others, this visionary leader devotes her life to the empowerment of poor Afghan women and children. With an unwavering commitment to social justice, against all odds, and often at great personal risk, she built and sustains an institute that makes healthcare and education possible for the most vulnerable. It owes its success in establishing clinics, teaching children, and training educators and caregivers to the deep and lasting ties she has forged with the people she serves and with global communities of care. After decades of work, she is still creating hope, in her home country and throughout the world. 

Additionally, AIL has had two articles posted at The Huffington Post. The first focuses on AIL’s belief that Education Is the Way to a Healthier Country

The second article details AIL’s Mobile Literacy Program, giving details of how adding texting to a traditional literacy curriculum helped to accelerate the pace of learning. 

Finally, tomorrow is a Global Giving Matching Day, and because AIL is a superstar partner, all donations will be matched at 50%! Matching will begin at 9:00 am EST and funds generally run out after just a few hours.To select a project that you might like to donate to, visit AIL’s page on GlobalGiving


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Project Leader

Toc Dunlap

Executive Director
Dearborn, Michigan United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Learning Centers for Rural Afghan Women in Herat