The Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) and Creating Hope International (CHI) would like to offer our sincerest thanks for a very successful year thus far. In January of 2013, AIL Learning Centers in Herat helped many women and girls obtain educational services, with over 4100 women and girls served. In late 2012 AIL opened three new centers to better serve primarily poor and under-educated women. With the addition of these new centers, the total number of centers we currently support in Herat is 17, up from 14 this time last year. Over 70% of the beneficiaries of our learning centers in Herat are women, and the number of students attending our centers continues to grow at a steady pace. Such numbers are a promising reminder of what we here at AIL and CHI are striving for.
Our learning centers in Herat offer dozens of literacy, English, Arabic, tailoring, weaving, math, science, and computer courses for women and girls. These courses are making an immediate impact on the lives of all who attend. Women are learning how to become economically self-sufficient, girls are learning how to think critically, and women and girls of all ages are beginning to take up leadership roles in their communities and are becoming increasingly independent.
Our centers are causing a shift in the communities they serve. Although the primary beneficiaries of centers are the individuals who get an education, the entire community benefits from having an educated base that has more earning potential, critical thinking ability, and leadership qualities. In addition, AIL centers and clinics are becoming centers for women to network and share ideas with other women. Our work is far from over, but we are very optimistic about these promising changes and the progress we have made. Thank you all again for your support!
The Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL) and Creating Hope International (CHI) would like to wish you and yours the happiest of holiday seasons. As you celebrate with those you love, please take a moment to look at CHI’s yearly newsletter, which we’ve attached to this report. As you will see, 2012 has been a transformative year for AIL and CHI. After years of working tirelessly to provide education, training and healthcare to Afghans, we are beginning to see a real change. The minds of those AIL works with are being opened to the possibility of a peaceful Afghan society.
AIL is in the process of finalizing a 5 year funding plan, which will be put into place beginning in 2013. We are looking forward to sharing the details of this plan with you soon, and hope that you will find it in your heart to give generously to help us reach our goal. The people of Afghanistan are making great strides, but our work is not done yet. Instead of backing down, we need to push ahead and continue to give Afghans the tools they need to create a more peaceful country. We are hoping that we can count on you to help continue our work.
The women are beginning to see that through education they can have a better life, and are insisting on educating their children. They are taking charge of their health, and we are seeing more and more women requesting workshops on pre-natal issues as well as reproductive health. AIL is encouraged to see so many Afghan women looking forward to a brighter future and is planning to be there to help the women lead the way to the Afghanistan of their dreams.
Thank you for your support of AIL’s programs in Herat Province. While the situation in Afghanistan continues to prove challenging, AIL is finding ways to continue bringing high quality education to the women of rural Afghanistan.
Through August 2012, AIL’s Learning Centers in Herat Province have provided education for 3,552 Afghan women and girls in classes ranging from sewing to computers, carpet weaving to literacy. AIL continues to offer classes in culturally sensitive manner, attracting students whose families might not allow them to attend otherwise.
AIL’s Executive Director, Dr. Sakena Yacoobi was recently interviewed and asked her opinions on unlocking the potential of women in Afghanistan. Here is what she had to say,
“ Afghanistan, for about 35 years has been at war, and through this war situation, the women have been abused and violated against all the time, and also a major part of the society ignored the part of the woman... if you ignore 60% of society, you are not getting anywhere.” “ Women have the capacity if you really give them the environment, if you really work with them and give them opportunity, they will blossom and they will nourish and they will be able to provide so much for the nation that the nation will go through transformation.” “ So in order to really build this nation, we must work with woman and children, and that's we're doing. And through working with women and educating them, we have been reach, like, about 9 million people so far in my 15 years. 9 million people when we reach, right now all of a sudden we see the transformation is taking place. Women are more empowered. They go to the task force, they go to the political arena, and they are working toward democracy. They understand. Before, they didn't understand what we're trying to ask them what to do, and in order for them to understand, we must educate them and give them awareness. And through many, many workshop, like leadership workshop, management workshop, peace education, we help the woman to help herself.” “ Through this process of educating young woman and young girls, I have seen many, many lives have been changed, their style of life change, they become very powerful. They become self-sufficient.” Don’t forget! The holidays are a great time to share your passion for AIL and the great work that they do! GlobalGiving offers gift certificates which can be used to donate to AIL’s projects. Also, beginning December 1st, the initial donation made by recurring donors will be matched 100% by GlobalGiving. There is only $25,000 available in matching funds, so help AIL take advantage of this opportunity early!
Every month we receive stories showing the positive effect that AIL is able to have in lives of women in Afghanistan. A positive effect that is due in part to your generous support. We would like to share with you the story of Fatima, a young girl studying literacy in one of AIL’s centers in Herat.
One year ago, Fatima was unable to read or write. She decided to attend literacy classes in one of AIL’s rural centers in Herat Province. In the past year, Fatima has proven herself to be a very intelligent student. She says, “I am not the same person I was last year, I am now a literate woman.” In fact, Fatima has begun to teach her mother and father how to read and write. She began by teaching them the alphabet, and is now up to page nineteen in the grade one literacy book.
This is the story of a student at the Sar Asia Center in Herat:
I am 22 years old. Seven years ago, I came to this Center and studied sewing. I learned how to sew and the cutting of clothes. Fortunately, I now have a daily income from sewing clothes. I can earn 10 dollars per day and my family’s expenditures are 7 dollars every day. I can save three dollars each day. In one year I can save 1100 dollars. This is how I am helping my family. I continue to come to the Center to attend literacy and Arabic classes. I am now in the fourth level of literacy. When I started here, my family did not like the idea, but now they respect me and encourage me. Recently, I enrolled my mother in literacy classes so that she may also learn.
These kinds of stories touch my heart and give me hope for all women in Afghanistan. The idea that she is saving money for her future makes me smile and shows me that AIL is helping people lead better lives.
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