The AIL Learning Centers are a trusted part of the communities where they exist. The manager of one of the centers recently shared a story that exemplifies the trust that people have in AIL, and we’d like to share that story with you.
Fariba’s husband is working abroad while Fariba stays in Afghanistan with their three daughters. Fariba’s husband wrote her a letter telling her about his health and his daily life in the foreign country, but she was unable to read the letter. She took it to a neighbor, but the neighbor was also illiterate. The neighbor suggested that they take the letter to the AIL Learning Center where they would be able to find someone who could read it for them. As soon as they arrived, they found many women who would be able to read the letter for Fariba. She was thankful to these women, and so happy to hear that her husband was safe and healthy.
The woman who read the letter for her suggested that Fariba begin taking literacy classes so that she could read future letters from her husband, and even write letters of her own. Fariba took their advice, and has now been taking classes for eight months. She said “I recently wrote a letter to my husband telling him about our family’s health. This is such a big step for me, and he was very happy to have a letter written by me.”
Each year AIL’s programs help thousands of women just like Fariba. We want to say thank you so much for your support this year. In 2014 your support helped AIL to do the following:
Thank you for all of your support. We look forward to updating you on the exciting things that AIL has planned for 2015!
Thank you for supporting the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL)! This year has been fantastic for AIL's Learning Centers (LCs), with nearly 17,000 women and girls coming through the doors of AIL’s centers for classes in subjects such as, English, math, science, Arabic, tailoring, crochet, computers and more. This summer and fall were a tumultuous time in Afghanistan, but we are happy to say that despite the instability, all of the LCs remain open. In addition, the AIL office in Herat has begun supporting three new Learning Centers.
Our staff recently spoke with a 24 year-old woman named Zahra who is taking classes at one LC in Herat Province. Zahra came to the center to enroll her children in classes and saw that there were many women her age having lessons. She spoke with the women who told her that the center offered great classes for women. Her husband was against the idea at first, but she enrolled anyway. They had many disagreements about her taking lessons, but Zahra’s husband was soon convinced that the classes were a good idea after the young woman learned to sew and was able to start a small businesses sewing clothing for other families.
Zahra said “I am now so happy that I have a skill. My husband is very happy as well. He has seen that I have learned this skill in a sound, safe and good educational environment. The class has been helpful in other ways too. I have made friends, and learned so much about how to keep my children healthy. I am so thankful to AIL for offering me the opportunity to support myself and my family and changing my life for the better.”
Thank you for supporting our program, and women just like Zahra who are looking for a way to improve their lives. We have attached our year-end newsletter to this report and hope you will take a few minutes to read it.
Thank you so much for supporting the Afghan Institute of Learning (AIL)! As the situation in Afghanistan continues to develop and change, your support becomes more important than ever to helping AIL educate, train and provide healthcare to Afghan women. During the first 6 months of 2014, your support helped AIL to provide education to 9,456 Afghan women and girls in Learning Centers and schools in Afghanistan and the refugee camps of Pakistan. You also supported training in subjects such as leadership, peace, human rights and the election for 1,694 women and girls during this time period. Finally, nearly 84,000 women and girls have received healthcare and health education through AIL’s health programs.
The AIL Learning Centers offer a variety of classes, from literacy and math, to sewing and embroidery, English and Arabic, cosmetology and even computers! Recently classes of computer students were promoted to the next level in their studies. At the promotion ceremony, a young woman named Sima was thrilled to share that because of her computer skills, a construction company had hired her! Her husband is a day laborer, and is not able to earn enough to support his family. Now, thanks to the AIL computer class, she is able to work and earn an income. Sima realizes that she might face challenges being a woman working outside of the home, but feels that she is ready to face them. She said, “I know that I might face problems because I am a woman, and there are some who feel that a woman shouldn’t work outside the home, but I want to work and will ignore whatever is said about me. I thank AIL for giving me this chance to change my life.”
Another wonderful success story came from Farima, a woman who decided that she no longer wanted to be illiterate. She came to AIL’s literacy classes, and after 6 months was able to read and write. Soon, a relative hired her to work in their supermarket. She is so pleased to be able to help support her family. Farima says “AIL has changed my life. Before attending the AIL literacy class, I stayed home every day and wasted my time. I lost so many chances in my life because I was not educated, but now, because I learned to read and write I have a job. Now, I can read, write and communicate with all sorts of people.”
We want to thank you again for your generous support of AIL and our programs that empower Afghan women. We hope that you are inspired by the hard work and determination of Sima and Farima and will share the stories of Sima and Farima with your friends and family. Thank you again for your support.
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
Hello everyone! Thanks to you, our donors, AIL had a very successful 2013 in terms of bringing education and empowerment to Afghan women and girls. More than 9,800 female students took classes at AIL Learning centers, and over 7,000 were adolescent or teen girls. Popular classes included literacy, tailoring, computers, English, Arabic, math, and science. Your support really helped to make these classes available to the hungry minds of Afghan women, women who really want to become independent and start their own careers to provide for their families, or to become leaders in their communities.
Your support made AIL able to host many leadership workshops, which saw nearly 1,500 women participate. These leadership workshops provide young women with information on what makes a good leader, how to become empowered, and how to become a leader in the home and in their community. Another 1,300 women took part in AIL’s numerous health workshops, including workshops for expectant mothers, nutrition education, and reproductive health, giving them knowledge and a say in matters of health.
One of the participants from a leadership workshop we held in December had this to say about her experience:
“Without any exaggeration, this workshop was the best, the most efficient, and excellent workshop that I have ever attended. This workshop was full of content and it made me aware that I could reach my full potential in order to be a good leader in the future. It encouraged me to use my capabilities. In the future I want to work on women against violation issues. I want to be a great leader among the women teach them awareness and importance of education.”
We would like to thank you so much for your support of the Empowers Afghan Women program. Without supporters like you, we couldn’t have accomplished what we have or what we plan to do in the future. Thank you!!
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