Apply to Join
Nov 4, 2019

A Young Woman Makes the Only Choice She Can

Mah Jan creating beautiful clothing.
Mah Jan creating beautiful clothing.

As a young mother in Afghanistan, Mah Jan shared the same worries as millions of women around the world who lack access to paid work:

How can I earn money for myself and my family?

How can I ensure a brighter future for my children?

How can I support the women and girls in my community?

Mah Jan’s story is typical of girls born into poor, uneducated families in Central Asia. Her childhood years were difficult. Problems at home forced her to drop out of school in the seventh grade. She married very young and soon found herself with six children. She was expected to stay home, raise the children, and do the household chores. So Mah Jan made the only choice available to her; she put her dream of getting an education on hold.

On hold, but not forgotten.

Hope came alive again years later when, at the age of 38, Mah Jan enrolled in a literacy and vocational training program funded by Central Asia Institute. She spent nine months improving her literacy skills, then focused her attention on learning how to sew. Within six months, she had completed a tailoring course and was hired by the program staff to teach tailoring to other students.

Read Mah Jan's Full Story Here

Links:

Aug 12, 2019

In Wake of Taliban Peace Talks, Afghan Women...

Earlier this year the United States commenced peace negotiations with the Taliban in the hope of ending its 18-year military engagement in Afghanistan. While peace is on the table, other pressing issues are also at stake, namely the future of Afghanistan’s women.

Of utmost concern among the Afghan people is the possibility that the Taliban might regain influence in their country. Memories of life under Taliban rule are painful and, with no women invited to the negotiating table, women’s rights are especially vulnerable. The notion that Afghanistan could return to the repressive regime of the Taliban puts fear into the hearts of Afghans everywhere, especially women.

Women in Afghanistan: the backstory

Foreign invasions, wars, and the rise of extremist militant groups have colored the landscape of Afghanistan for the last forty years. Through it all, the rights of women were often exploited, abused, and — in the case of the Taliban — all but destroyed.

Prior to the 1979 Russian invasion, the story of women in Afghanistan reads very differently. The life of an Afghan woman largely mirrored the life of a woman living in the West. The government was progressive, the culture was rich in ideas, and women were free to go to school and work. In fact, from the 1930s to the late 1970s, fashionable Kabul was known as the “Paris of Central Asia.” Women dressed in stylish clothing and wore make-up. One in two government workers was a woman. Nearly three-quarters of Afghanistan’s teachers were women, and 40 percent of the physicians were female. Up until the early 1990s, women were making strides in education, work outside the home, and economic independence. Economic and livelihood programs that supported women to turn their handicrafts and other skills into money-making ventures were widely available, even in rural areas.

Continued reading: In Wake of Taliban Peace Talks, Afghan Women Hope Basic Human Rights Still Theirs

Links:

May 23, 2019

Meet CAI's New Executive Director

Alice Thomas
Alice Thomas

 

Central Asia Institute is pleased to introduce our new executive director, Alice Thomas! 

In the video below Alice shares why she is deeply committed to CAI’s mission and a firm believer in the power of education, literacy, and skills development – especially among girls and women – as well as her own personal journey with education. We hope that you’ll take a few minutes to get to know her.

Earlier this week, Alice also sat down with CAI Communications Director Hannah Denys to talk about her vision for Central Asia Institute and why she’ll be a powerful advocate for CAI’s beneficiaries and supporters. Read the interview here.

Links:

 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.