I am honored to announce that this Thursday, August 6 I will be a guest on Beth Green’s radio program, the Inner Revolution. I invite you to listen live, from 6-7pm ET (3-4pm PT) as we discuss my programs in Afghanistan, including the Classes that this project supports. Thursday’s show is titled “The Other Side of Afghan Women: Dr. Sakena Yacoobi and See Courage in Action!” and the description is as follows:
Honored for her courage and vision, Dr. Sakena Yacoobi is human like us, yet has had to face daunting conditions, which continue to the present day. In 1990, Sakena returned from the US to establish education, health and training programs in the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan. In 1995 she founded the Afghan Institute of Learning to continue her work. But when the Taliban took power, they devastated women’s rights, including access to education. Instead of crumbling, Sakena worked with communities to establish home schools. The resulting years have seen an astounding litany of accomplishments including the rebuilding of Afghan society. How has she done it? How did her organization found 80 secret schools under the Taliban at the risk of death? And what about today? Although no longer in control of the national government, the Taliban and repressive attitudes toward women still have a hold. What’s happening now? We often see the anguish of Afghan women. Tune in and see the courage.
I will share stories of the wonderful women and girls supported by the Afghan Institute of Learning. Girls like E., a 19-year old Afghan studying in a Mobile Literacy Class at one of AIL’s centers, and supported by you. Stories like this one:
“Hello. I am E., and I am 19 years old. I think this mobile literacy class is so interesting. Before coming to this class I didn’t know anything at all, and since coming I have learned how to read and write, like really read and write, you know? Since learning to communicate with my friends and family via mobile messages, I have made many new friends. I can also manage all of the settings of my phone as well. After this class I plan on taking more classes so that I can use what I have learned here to learn even more. Thanks AIL and Professor Sakena Yacoobi for making it possible for me to attend this class and to change my whole life.” You can click this link for more information about Thursday’s broadcast. I hope that you will make time to listen!
Dr. Sakena Yacoobi
Thank you for your support of AIL’s innovative Mobile Literacy classes. So far in 2015, we have been able to offer 4 more of these classes to 120 women and girls. The classes began in February and will finish up at the end of this month. In the first months of the course the students have learned to read sight words, text, call, and write sentences. By the end of the course, most of the students will be able to read at a fourth grade level.
One of the mobile literacy students recently said, “I am from Herat. Before coming to this course, I didn’t really know anything about mobile phones, but since coming here I have learned so much about it. In fact, I have learned everything that I need to use the phone. Now I can write messages and dial numbers to call and text my friends and family so easily. I have also learned to save numbers. Before, when I would get a call, I wouldn’t really know how to answer it and I would have to take my phone to a neighbor. Since starting this course, I can now do all of these things for myself. In addition, I am now motivated to learn a profession in order to earn an income and help my family. When this course finishes, I am going to start attending sewing and English classes. I thank AIL for providing me with such a great opportunity.”
We’d like to thank you so much for helping AIL to bring this innovative new class to more Afghan women and girls. We appreciate your support.
A Special Day – Today! Matching Funds Available!
Today we have a great opportunity which we would like your help with. There are matching funds available for ALL donations made to this project today. This is a guaranteed bonus!
Starting at 9am EDT on May 13th, GlobalGiving is matching donations on our project! Any online donation up to $1,000 made today will go even further to help our work. You can donate any time between 9am EDT and midnight to have your donation partially matched by GlobalGiving –guaranteed! Just click here and support our program on May 13th.
The percentage of the match will be determined at midnight; the more given today the greater our bonus!
Our mobile literacy program has helped AIL to offer this innovative course to nearly 1,000 women and girls, like Zainab who says,
“Before coming to this course, I didn’t really know anything about mobile technology, but since coming here I have learned so much about it. I have learned everything that is really needed. Now I can write messages, dial numbers to call people, and message my friends and family so easily. I also have learned how to save numbers. Before, when I got a call I didn’t know how to answer it and had to go to my neighbor for help. Since learning, I can do it for myself. In addition, I have gotten motivated to learn a profession in order to earn money and help my family. I will take sewing and English classes at this learning center after finishing this class. I thank AIL for providing all of us with such a great opportunity.”
Please help us educate even more students by donating to our project today, May 13th. Thank you!
2014 was such a wonderful year for the Afghan Institute of Learning’s (AIL) Mobile Literacy Program. We were able to offer 16 mobile literacy classes in 2014, with 520 women and girls graduating from these classes. Approximately 80% of students enter the class knowing at most the alphabet. At the end of the four month long course, 80% are able to read at a fourth grade level – a feat that takes 18 months in a traditional literacy class.
The women and girls report a new sense of self-confidence that comes with being able to read and write. Some are able to help with family businesses; others are able to find employment now that they can read. They report being able to communicate with friends and family around Afghanistan and the world after learning to operate a mobile phone. Finally, they develop friendships during the class, and knowing how to operate the phones gives them a way to stay in touch with their new friends, something that would ordinarily be quite difficult for the women.
Habiba is a 16-year-old girl who had not had the opportunity to attend school. She said “I not only learned to read and write in four months, I also found my place in the world. This class helped me to find out who I am and helped me feel like a member of the community. I have started a new life with lots of new people who are helping me to make a brighter future for myself. This class has changed my life in so many positive ways. In addition to this, I have learned many life skills. I heartily thank this AIL Learning Center for changing my life.”
Aziza is a 19-year-old student in Habiba’s class. She said, “I never imagined that I would learn to read and write in such a short time, but this AIL class has paved the way for me to access my dreams. I am not the girl that I was before. Everything has changed about me. My negative mind has turned to positive. I have a sense of responsibility now. Attending this class has helped me to understand the reason why humans were created. I can now easily communicate with others, and I really enjoy living. Thank you AIL.”
When AIL began the Mobile Literacy pilot classes in 2012, we believed that they would help students to learn at an accelerated pace. We didn’t anticipate that giving students access to a mobile phone would have such a dramatic impact on their lives, but now that we know, we firmly believe that this class is a wonderful way to teach women and girls to read.
We are excited to report that new classes are beginning this month, and hope that you will continue to support our efforts to offer this amazing program to as many Afghan women and girls as possible. Thank you!
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