Mar 30, 2020

The only window of hope: A letter from Khatera

The AAE hopes you and your family are doing well during this difficult time. Schools across Afghanistan are closed because of the COVID-19 virus, including AAE's schools. We're hopeful for a quick resolution to this crisis so we can return to class. 

In the meantime, one of our students, Khatera, asked to share her story with you. Here it is.

"In 1995, due to the civil war, my family was forced to migrate from Kabul to Quetta, Pakistan. The shift had considerable impacts on me and my family. I was working along with my father as a carpet weaver to pay for the very basic needs of our family.  During the eight years of residency in Pakistan, I couldn't make a way to get an education. "

"In 2003, I came back to Afghanistan and settled in Kabul.  My family permitted me to get an education. As a 14-year-old old girl, I wasn't allowed to get admission in public school, because of my age. The only option was to attend literacy classes." 

"The literacy classes were only up to third grade.  After graduation from literacy classes, I was desperate to pursue my education.  I made several attempts to get admission to public school, but each time failed because of my age."

"After several months of searching, I found Aid Afghanistan for Education schools, which had no age restriction for students. I got admitted in fourth grade. The school program was suitable for my age and needs. The 12 years schooling period compressed into 7 years and 8 months.  The learning process sufficiently contributed to my development.  During my school years, I acquired good knowledge and skills.  I made some good, life time, friends, who are quite effective in my life." 

"After graduation, I passed the Kanker Exam (annual entrance exam to Kabul university) and got admitted in social studies in my favorite university.  After graduation from university, I followed my dream of becoming a teacher.  I was recruited by a private school, where I am teaching social subjects." 

"Now, I am teaching to hundreds of girls and women and helping them to be capable personalities.  Meanwhile, I am contributing to my family by paying the school costs of my two sisters." 

"I am proud of myself and seeing myself a capable person, by having the capacity to contribute to myself and others. Indeed, this achievement would be never possible, unless I had the chance to study at AAE school."

We are so proud of Khatrera and students like her who rise above their cirumstances to achieve their dreams. Thank you for contuing your support of Aid Afghanistan for Education, and take care. 

Jan 27, 2020

Awaiting election results in Afghanistan

Dear friends, 

Happy New Year! We hope that you and your families have had a restful holiday season and peaceful 2020 so far. We certainly felt the love from you - our global community of supporters came together to raise nearly $11,000 to sponsor students' education and invest in new schools. We are so incredibly grateful!

You may know that Afghanistan held presidential elections on September 28, 2019, two weeks after President Trump froze the peace talks. Even though it has been four months since the elections, a winner has not been officially declared. The election had a very low voter turnout, many protests, and allegations of fraud, and the Independent Election Commission has a lot to work through. 

Partnership with the government and Ministry of Education is very important to the success of Aid Afghanistan for Education's schools, especially when it comes to opening a new school, and so we will continue waiting for the election results before moving forward with this project. It's very important to be patient when working in Afghanistan!

I do want to share with you the story of Khatera, a successful AAE graduate. She says:

"I was a refugee in Pakistan and when I returned to Afghanistan, the only option for me were simple literacy classes, which didn't provide general education. I kept looking around until I found Aid Afghanistan for Education. I was admitted at 4th grade at the age of 18, and after graduation, I attended pedagogy. After graduation, I found a job to teach, which allows me to provide for my family.  Establishing schools like Aid Afghanistan for Education is very important for people like me."

Our team is hopeful and confident that new schools, once we're able to move forward, will benefit hundreds of students like Khatera. Thank you so much for your generosity, patience, and warm wishes! 

Dec 18, 2019

Meet Razia, an Afghan refugee turned journalist

Meet Razia, an Afghan returnee from Iran.  

When returned refugees or internally displaced people like Razia come back to Afghanistan after time away, they are required to present sufficient documents and should be at a specific age to be admitted to traditional public school. Otherwise, they can attend literacy classes (aimed to provide basic reading and writing skills, which only reach grade three level) or night school. 

After returning from Iran, Razia’s family resided in Kabul.  She finally convinced her family to permit her to get an education.  After getting her family's permission, she started her search to find a school she could attend. She said, “I submitted applications to several public schools, but each time my application was rejected, and I was told to get admission in literacy classes or night school. Both of the options were rejected by my family.”

Razia's family's rejection of these two options is not uncommon. Families typically don't allow female students to study at night, which involves travel to the center of the city at night, which is not considered appropriate. Many families also expect women and girls to spend the evenings cooking, cleaning, and taking care of children. Literacy classes, on the other hand, offer the bare minimum reading and writing skills, which aren't considered "enough" to leverage for higher income or to enter university. These such classes don't offer any sort of degree or certificate, so many families don't believe it's worth the effort.

While searching to find a school to fulfill her dream, Razia finally gained admission to Aid Afghanistan for Education's (AAE) school No.2 in Kabul. In this regard, she said, “I nearly lost hope, but suddenly one morning a miracle happened. A neighbor told me there is a school that allows you to get admission. I was amazed and surprised, and got the admission.”

Razia continued her studies in AAE’s school. She said, “The school environment was professional and best suited to my age. When I saw students of my age, I was always motivated and realized that there is no age restriction to get an education".  

This year, Razia turned 28 years old and earned her high school diploma. She wants to be an active voice for Afghan women and girls by becoming a journalist.  She will begin studying journalism this summer at one of the prestigious universities in Kabul.  

Stories like Razia’s inspire me to continue working toward an Afghan society where every person, no matter their age, gender, refugee status, or otherwise, can access the education of their dreams and create a more peaceful country.

Thank you for all of your support for AAE, and have a very joyful holiday season and a happy new year! We hope that 2020 brings you peace, light, and joy.

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