Starting at Noon EST today you can double your donation to the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL)!! GlobalGiving and Microsoft YouthSpark are offering $200,000 in matching funds, but the funds will go fast! The last time they offered a 100% match funds ran out in just 15 minutes.
If you’d like to help AIL, please visit our project page right at Noon EST.
AIL’s mobile literacy program is using mobile phones and texting to teach girls to read. One of the mobile literacy students says, “My name is Hava. Before this course, I didn’t know how to use a mobile phone, but I have learned during this class. I also learned how to read and write. I have learned about what is happening in my country. I have even made many good friends. I am so happy to come to the course each day and spend time with my friends. We practice reading and writing by sending each other text messages. I am so thankful to AIL for this course.”
We thank you for helping to support our project. We hope that you will support us again at noon today!
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
In addition to subjects such as literacy, Arabic, English and math, some AIL Learning Centers are able to offer computer classes. We’d like to share an amazing success story from one of our computer classes:
On the second week of my AIL computer class, my homework assignment was to search for something on the internet. I went to an internet café to do my homework, and I saw so many women using the internet. This gave me the idea to start my own internet café after graduating from the class. I began to learn as much as I could. Once I graduated from the six month long course, I found an investor and opened my own internet café. I have a lot of customers and earn a good salary. In addition, my personality has changed for the better. I am respected in my community and can communicate with people around the world. For example, I now have hundreds of friends on Facebook and I chat with them and share ideas about the issues facing Afghanistan. In fact, I am going to begin taking an online university course soon. Before taking this computer course, I was a cashier in a big supermarket. My salary was not good, and the work was so difficult. Now, I like my job so much more. I thank AIL for teaching me how to use the computer and for giving me the opportunity to make my life more prosperous.
The AIL computer class gave this young woman the knowledge and skills she needed to open her own internet café
Bonus Day Today!!!
Today beginning at NOON EST, all donations to this project will receive a 50% match as part of the Microsoft Youth Spark program.
If you’re up for the challenge, be on the site to give right at NOON EST!
The last time this challenge was offered, funds ran out in just 15 minutes, so log on early to help AIL take advantage of matching funds!
In March, AIL’s Herat office began 8 new Mobile Literacy classes for a total of 240 female students. 77% of these students are either completely illiterate, or know only the alphabet. In the next four months, these students will learn to read, using texting to supplement their education. The use of the phones not only accelerates the pace of learning, but also opens up the students’ world.
One of the new students said: “I don’t want to be uneducated anymore. I want to be educated like the other women of my age. I also want to have a way to stay in touch with my friends and family. A life without education and knowledge is nonsense. If I am educated, I can search for information about my rights in the community where I live. I can defend my civil rights. I want to learn about technology as well. I thank AIL for giving me this significant chance.”
Youth Spark Bonus Day Challenge!!
On Wednesday, Microsoft will be offering a 50% match to all donations made to this project! If you’re up for the challenge, be ready to give right at Noon as funds tend to run out very quickly. (Last time they were gone in only 15 minutes!)
Donations from $10-1000 will be eligible for the 50% match. As an added bonus – recurring donations will be matched at 100%!! We hope that you will take advantage of this awesome opportunity!
The Afghan Institute of Learning strives to improve the lives of adolescent girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This age group is particularly receptive to new ideas and to taking on new ways of doing things. These girls are the future of change in Afghan society as women are the change makers in family units and are the untapped and underutilized resource for growth in the economy and the creation of a stable society.
AIL seeks to reach adolescent girls through its health and its education programming. The health program combines treatment, education and training, especially in reproductive health. The program is based on a holistic approach providing treatment and education together including: routine care, first aid, nutrition, pharmacy, dental care, reproductive health care as well as preventive care such as vaccinations and education. In 2013, AIL treated over 194,000 people (average of 16,000 per month) at 4 fixed clinics and its mobile clinics and through its Community Health Worker program. In the same time period, AIL provided health education to over 118,000 (average of 9,800 per month) through its clinics, CHWs and workshop offerings. Approximately 70% of those receiving health services are female.
The 2013 health statistics from AIL show some encouraging developments. There was a 40% increase in clinic births from 2012 up by 115 births. 100% of the women who attended the AIL Expectant Mother Workshops chose a clinic birth. This is remarkable in a society where home birth is the norm. Women are seeing clinic births as a safer option. Vaccinations were up by 14% with 7,000 more and CHW visits also increased by 6,000 or 14%. The number of treatments by CHWs dropped for Acute Respiratory Infections by 15% and Diarrhea by 60%. These two numbers show the impact of health education in giving the people the information to take care of themselves. As adolescent girls witness their mothers’ health care choices they take those choices as the norm for their own lives as they become mothers themselves. Girls with better health care and health education are healthier and more able to learn in school and contribute to the family.
Fareshta on of the workshop participants said, “Most of the people who live in our village are uneducated. They suffer many health problems. The women don’t know about reproductive health and many of them lose their lives at the time of delivery. The mothers’ mortality level is very high there. One woman died at the time of birth because her family didn’t let any doctor check her. She and her baby both died. It is very painful for me when I think about them.”
The other element is education of adolescent girls. In 2013, AIL provided education through its Learning Centers to over 23,000 people of these 10,207 or 44 % were adolescent girls. AIL staff encourage families to allow their girls to attend the centers ensuring them that it is safe and appropriate culturally. Girls are learning to read, write, do math and to sew and operate a computer and so much more. It is a transformative thing to be educated and opens so many doors in a young life. Some girls study to get back on track at school others are starting from scratch. All of them gain more than knowledge at the Learning Centers they gain friendship and knowing how to network with other women and that their “sisters” will be there for them in the future.
Thank you for your contribution to this project. You are helping transform lives and communities and Afghan society as a whole through your support.
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